Five Stars

The Vanishing Half

Book Review: Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half is every bit as good as promised

July 9, 2020

The release of Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half early last month was met with great excitement, with the book quickly becoming a bestseller. Bennett’s sophomore novel is the story of the Vignes twins, Stella and Desiree, who grow up in an American town called Mallard during the 1960s. There are two things to know about Mallard […]

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Conjure Women

Book Review: Afia Atakora delivers a cautionary tale about the narratives of history in Conjure Women

June 11, 2020

Set in the years immediately preceding and immediately after the American Civil War, Afia Atakora‘s debut novel Conjure Women is an exploration of both what it meant to be a woman and what it meant to be a slave in the Antebellum South. Conjure Women is the story of Rue, a ‘conjure woman’ in a small community made up […]

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Momentum True Wireless 2

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 Review: The best wireless earbuds yet?

May 25, 2020

There are now some fantastic choices if you’re in the market for a pair of truly wireless earbuds. Apple has the Airpods Pro, Sony have their excellent WF-1000xm3 (review here), Bang & Olufsen is still having fun putting out new colourways of the E8 (review here), and there are some promising pieces coming from Bose […]

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The Rich Man's House

Book Review: Man and nature collide in Andrew McGahan’s final work, The Rich Man’s House

May 12, 2020

South of Tasmania sits The Wheel. It is the largest mountain in the world, almost triple the height of Everest. Accompanied by a small island, complete with its own formidable peak, The Wheel has been conquered by only one man – American billionaire climber Walter Richman. It’s been more than fifty years since Richman stood […]

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Fauna

Book Review: Donna Mazza makes a spectacular return with Fauna

May 1, 2020

It’s been thirteen years since WA writer, Donna Mazza, won the prestigious City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford award for her novel, The Albanian. But her second book, Fauna, out earlier this year through Allen and Unwin was certainly worth the wait. Set in 2037, in an Australia which shows only subtle differences from our own, […]

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Euphoria Kids

Book Review: Alison Evans’ YA fantasy Euphoria Kids is a stunning contemporary fairytale

February 3, 2020

Iris, Babs, and the boy without a name. One from the earth, one made of fire, and one who isn’t quite sure what he’s made of just yet. For this trio, navigating school and family life should have been enough. But there’s trouble brewing. Iris, who counts the faeries and dryads amongst their friends, is […]

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Akin

Book Review: Emma Donoghue’s Akin is a historical story told from the present day

January 28, 2020

Akin is Emma Donoghue’s tenth novel for adults, but only her second set in the modern day. Known by most readers for her 2010 novel, Room, Donoghue has published countless novels which examine little known pockets of history, such as 2014’s Frog Music and 2016’s The Wonder. At first glance, Akin is something entirely different to Donoghue’s back catalogue, including […]

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Book Review: Helen Garner’s Yellow Notebook is an exhilarating look inside the writer’s mind

December 23, 2019

Helen Garner is a Virginia Woolf fan. This is especially apparent in her latest release, Yellow Notebook: Diaries Volume 1 1978-1987. Woolf once said, “Examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day. The mind receives a myriad impressions – trivial, fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with a sharpness of steel.” This quote amply […]

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Book Review: Emily Paull makes an assured and emotive debut with short story collection Well-Behaved Women

November 28, 2019

An expert free-diver disappears while training with her son. An unlikely Blanche DuBois makes her theatrical debut. A group of teens head to a music festival. And two young women run away together. These are just some of the tales that make up Well-Behaved Women, the debut short story collection from Perth writer Emily Paull. […]

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Book Review: Meg Mundell’s The Trespassers shows a dystopian future with links to Australia’s past and present

November 4, 2019

You might be forgiven for thinking that there are echoes of the past in Meg Mundell’s newest novel, The Trespassers, as a boatload of British folk board a boat bound for Australia to escape overcrowing, unemployment and disease at home. Instead, it’s the not-too-distant future. Among the passengers are our three protagonists: Cleary, nine years old and […]

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Live Review: The Teskey Brothers + Harmony Byrne – Metro Theatre, Sydney (03.11.19)

November 4, 2019

There’s a strange level of community in country and blues music. It’s not the genre of music I’d listen to the most. But, every time I head along to a gig by a band playing this type of music, I’m bound to walk away after ninety minutes with a big dumb smile on my face […]

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MIFF Review: Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a brimming, hot-blooded and passionate romance at its best

August 5, 2019

French director Céline Sciamma is one of the best writer/directors in French Cinema working today. She specializes in coming-of-age dramas and this reviewer has been a fan of her work ever since he saw her film Tomboy. From fantastic directorial work like her directorial debut Water Lilies and her prior film Girlhood to stellar screenwriting […]

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Album of the Week: Angie McMahon’s Salt (2019 LP) is the sound of an artist demanding to be listened to and heard

July 26, 2019

When I first saw Angie McMahon about this time in 2017, you sensed there was something special about this unassuming artist standing behind her guitar and microphone. In support of The Jezabels at Sydney’s Lansdowne Hotel, Angie was fresh off the back of being crowned that year’s winner of the Josh Pyke Partnership for up […]

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Film Review: Booksmart is so damn good, you’d want to rub your face in it

July 10, 2019

The fact that the existence of another raunchy teen comedy — jam-packed with sex, drugs and alcohol — may not mean much but it has been a very long time since I have heard this much hype for a comedy such as Booksmart. Ever since its premiere at this year’s South by Southwest, it has […]

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Parasite

Film Review: Parasite is a spectacularly insidious film you would want to latch on to

June 25, 2019

Director Bong Joon-ho is one of cinema’s most eclectic filmmakers working today. What makes his work stand out so much is his assured directorial hand in mixing genres that usually do not associate with each other and yet somehow, he executes them brilliantly. But no matter what genre he works in, he always manages to […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Pain and Glory (Spain, 2019) is one of Pedro Almodovar’s best films

June 14, 2019

Viva Almodovar! If that opening didn’t clue you in, I am a huge fan of the work of acclaimed Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar. His filmmaking is an extravagant blend that is both wondrously idiosyncratic and entertainingly melodramatic; capped off with a colourfully vibrant eye. Even his supposedly disappointing films have won me over time, […]

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Book Review: Omar Sakr’s The Lost Arabs is an intimate, passionate and timely collection of poetry

June 13, 2019

Omar Sakr’s The Lost Arabs was one of my most anticipated new releases for the year. It has more than lived up to expectations, which isn’t always the case. It’s intimate, vibrant, beautifully composed and engages creatively and powerfully with a whole host of concerns and themes intrinsic to understanding the modern world.  The Lost […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Souvenir (UK, 2019) is one of the best films of 2019

June 11, 2019

Before I start off this review, it must be said that I have not seen any of the works by director Joanna Hogg. It wasn’t due to any prior indiscretions, rather my personal ignorance. But upon hearing the massive amounts of praise from festivals and critics all over the world for her latest film, The […]

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Vivid Live Review: Maggie Rogers – Sydney Opera House (29.05.19)

May 31, 2019

Normally when I write an article about a gig I’ve seen, a lot of what I talk about is very subjective to my own experience. I’m sure there’s been times where I’ve written things that others haven’t agreed with. This article isn’t going to be one of them. What follows is totalling and utterly objective: […]

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Live Review: Ruel + Genesis Owusu – Sydney Opera House (16.05.19)

May 19, 2019

Pure pandemonium took over the Sydney Opera House on Thursday when sixteen-year-old pop protégé Ruel graced the stage. The electricity of nervous girls was reminiscent of the One Direction Up All Night concert tour when the boy band first blessed Australian shores. Needless to say, Ruel’s trajectory is looking to be a similar superstardom with […]

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Book Review: Spotlight on the girl from Botany Bay in Meg Keneally’s Fled

April 22, 2019

Meg Keneally may have a literary giant for a father, but her career speaks for itself.  Beginning her working life as Junior Public Affairs Officer at the Australian Consulate-General in New York, she has worked as a sub-editor and freelance features writer in Dublin, as a journalist at the Daily Telegraph in Australia, as a talkback […]

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Live Review: Basement Jaxx vs. The Metropolitan Orchestra bring the Baroque Bangers to the Sydney Opera House

April 15, 2019

Contemporary act-plus-orchestra shows aren’t a new phenomenon in rock, with arena-size bands churning out orchestral projects since the 80’s; an attempt at legitimising corporate rock, re-selling already existing albums and making mums proud. With dance music reaching maturity, EDM acts and DJs are beginning to jump on the bandwagon as their audiences age and new […]

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Theatre Review: West Side Story‘s limited run in Melbourne highlights why it is still the best of the best

April 10, 2019

Widely regarded as one of the greatest musicals of all time, the original 1957 production of West Side Story stunned audiences and changed the game for American musical theatre going forward. Since then there have been a multitude of productions focused on retelling this timeless story to new audiences. In 1961 it received a film […]

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Book Review: David Cullen’s Parkland provides a deeply moving account of the teenage survivors of the Parkland shooting

March 31, 2019

David Cullen, author of the definitive bestseller Columbine, returns with a second book, this time detailing the story of the events surrounding the Parkland, Florida school shooting in February 2018, the extraordinary teenage survivors and the March For Our Lives (MFOL) campaign that followed.  In Parkland, Cullen takes the readers inside the school in the […]

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Yoshi’s Crafted World Review: Pure platforming delight

March 27, 2019

Yoshi’s Crafted World has been made with all the love and care in the world – and it shows. From the subtle, crafty touches to the gorgeous soundtrack, cutesy worlds and stellar gameplay, everything about it screams wholesomeness. The game is so wholesome that it makes me want to be a better person. Story If […]

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Adelaide Festival Review: The Man With The Iron Neck – Dunstan Playhouse (08.03.19)

March 9, 2019

Note: this play includes references to self-harm and suicide. The topic of youth suicide, particularly within Indigenous communities has been part of recent conversations. Josh Bond and Ursula Yovich, the co-director and playwright of “Man with the Iron Neck” have this to say about the play: “We are overwhelmed everyday and it’s not because of […]

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Adelaide Fringe Review: Orbital + Severed Heads – RCC, Maths Lawns (03.02.19)

March 5, 2019

This year, the RCC in the Adelaide University has presented a bold and diverse range of acts for the Fringe and one of those has to be the combination of two iconic electronic musical acts, Orbital and Severed Heads. Held outdoors on the Maths Lawns, Severed Heads opened with an easy collection of beats and […]

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Live Review: Hanson + The Million – Melbourne Zoo (01.03.2019)

March 2, 2019

I thought I knew what to expect going to see Hanson perform as part of Zoo Twilights at Melbourne Zoo. Being the fan that I am, I also saw them earlier this week at the Palais Theatre on their String Theory Tour – and to say I was underwhelmed by this tour would be an […]

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Sydney Festival Review: Counting and Cracking is a highly important celebration of culture

January 23, 2019

Counting and Cracking was Belvoir and Sydney Festival’s lead production for 2019, launching with much fervour and excited rumour. A stadium worthy theatre piece purpose-built into Sydney Town Hall. A global casting call for 17 performers playing over 50 characters. Five languages on stage. A Sri Lankan meal awaiting each audience member as they arrive. […]

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Film Review: Eighth Grade (USA, 2018) is an empathetic, uncompromising & honest piece of work

January 4, 2019

Teenage films have been quite a huge staple for me in the past decade. Whether they would be quality films (like Heathers, Stand By Me), plain fun (Mean Girls, Easy A, Say Anything etc.) or just plain silliness (Porky’s, American Pie), this reviewer has always found some enjoyment for entertainment reasons as well as nostalgic […]

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