Non-Fiction reviews

The Quantum Astrologer’s Handbook by Michael Brooks

Reviewed by Chris Dite

The philosopher Zeno, of Elia’s arrow paradox, is frustratingly simple. When an archer shoots an arrow we perceive it to move towards the target. But we understand that in its journey there, the arro…

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Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Ashleigh Young is a voice to fall in love with. Her debut essay collection was recently named a winner of the prestigious Windham–Campbell Prize, and has just now become available in Australia thanks…

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Please Explain by Anna Broinowski

Reviewed by Kara Nicholson

Author and filmmaker Anna Broinowski first introduced herself to Pauline Hanson as a ‘pro-refugee, pro-environment, pro-reconciliation leftie’. She had approached the notorious politician in 2009 wit…

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Neon Pilgrim by Lisa Dempster

Reviewed by Chris Gordon

Written long before she became director of the Melbourne Writers Festival, Neon Pilgrim is an often humorous, brutally honest record of a walking expedition taken when Dempster was 28 years old and n…

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Watching Out by Julian Burnside

Reviewed by Jo Case

Julian Burnside, intellectual hero of the left and early advocate for the rights of asylum seekers, voted Liberal in every election from 1972 to 1996. And while he infamously defended the MUA in the …

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Draw Your Weapons by Sarah Sentilles

Reviewed by Michael Skinner

In Draw Your Weapons, Sarah Sentilles weaves together politics, memoir and history to create a meditation on the relationship between war, art and critical theory. The fractured narrative recalls the…

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Not Just Lucky by Jamila Rizvi

Reviewed by Kara Nicholson

Jamila Rizvi is by no means ‘just lucky’. She has forged a stellar career in federal politics and the media by using her formidable intelligence and working ridiculously hard. Of course, luck has pla…

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October by China Miéville

Reviewed by Eleanor Jenkins

What’s the difference between a Bolshevik and a Menshevik? And why, 100 years on from the Russian Revolution, should any of us care? If you’re wondering, then China Miéville has written this book for…

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Anaesthesia by Kate Cole-Adams

Reviewed by Oliver Driscoll

It varies, but if you’re sinking into a general anaesthetic, a number of things are happening, or could be happening. Your consciousness (whatever that is) is being switched off (whatever that means,…

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Depends What You Mean by Extremist by John Safran

Reviewed by Jo Case

Self-described ‘television prankster’ John Safran confirms that he’s a major writing talent with his second book. Here, he embeds himself with Australian political extremists and attempts to tease ou…

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