Australian Classic Fiction

The Varnished Culture thinks some Australian novels are worthy of the whole world: An Imaginary Life (by David Malouf) The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak) Capricornia (by Xavier Herbert) The First Man in Rome (by Colleen McCullough) Gould’s Book of Fish (by Richard Flanagan) The Harp in the South (by Ruth Park) The Magic Pudding (by Norman Lindsay) The Man Who Loved Children (by Christina Stead) The Merry-go-round in the Sea (by Randolph Stow) My Brilliant Career (by Miles Franklin) My Brother Jack (by George Johnston) Oscar and Lucinda (by Peter Carey) Picnic at Hanging Rock (by Joan Lindsay) Power Without Glory…

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The Art of Stalking

January 15, 2020 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | ART, FILM, MUSIC, WRITING & LITERATURE |

The New South Wales Police Force offers this regarding the crime of Stalking: Stalking is a crime…and…includes: ‘the following of a person about or the watching or frequenting of the vicinity of, or an approach to a person’s place of residence, business or work or any place that a person frequents for the purposes of any social or leisure activity’.  Stalking involves a persistent course of conduct or actions by a person which are intended to maintain contact with or exercise power and control over another person. These actions cause distress, loss of control, fear or harassment to another person and occur…

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The Unmaking of a Mayor

All smiles; Candidates Beame, Buckley & Lindsay

By William F. Buckley, Jr (1966) New York may well be the greatest city in the world. The Varnished Culture loves it, as we have said again and again and again and again. But we are unlikely to have loved it in 1965. Then, as erudite Tory gadfly Buckley pungently puts it in his floridly verbose and fascinating account of that year’s Mayoral election, “You can’t walk from one end of New York to the other without a good chance of losing your wallet, your maidenhead, or your life; or without being told that white people are bigoted, that Negroes…

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Blonde (Joyce Carol Oates)

November 25, 2019 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WRITING & LITERATURE |

(published 2000) We at TVC have never been charmed by the pasty, lumpy creature ‘Marilyn Monroe’; the bundle of affected moues, fleshy wiggles and whispers that the Frankenstein Studio reportedly stewed-up from some bits of lovelorn redneck Norma Jean and handfuls of sexpot glamour queen Marilyn.  Other than her almost-acting in “The Misfits” and her quite realistic impression of a starlet in “All About Eve“, her performances are tedious repetitions of wide-eyed Marilyn cooing and writhing her way through a sea of leering men. So, while we have little faith in Marilyn’s ability ever to inspire, we have much in…

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The Double (Jose Saramago)

November 13, 2019 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WRITING & LITERATURE |
Doppelgangers

Painting by Sebastian Bieniek

(English translation: 2004) Secondary-school history teacher Tertuliano Maximo Afonso (almost always referred to by his full name) is depressed and apathetic. He cares little about his work (believing that history should be taught in reverse not forward), neglects his mother, can’t remember what led him to get married, forgets why he got divorced and is trying to dump his girlfriend, Maria da Paz (also almost always named in full). He lives alone and spends most of his free time listlessly plodding through a large tome on Abyssinian history. His only friend, a fellow teacher, suggests that he is out of…

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