A masterclass in literary voice-creation and a subtle take on abortion

double bondage
Loraine Peck, Text, $32.99


Lorraine Pike’s second son Winner of the 2021 Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut Crime Fiction, and double bondage Continue from where you left off. Amy and Johnny Novak escape from Johnny’s crime family. They are trying to make a fresh start on the NSW north coast with their 11-year-old son Sasha, but trouble keeps following them. Can Johnny really escape the Novak family so easily? Or is he marked for life? After all, no one would ever think of playing a high-stakes game with someone known as a “snake” for happiness, and if anything would prompt Amy to commit a crime, protecting her partner and their children would be at the top of the list. Peck’s adept blend of psychological suspense and dark comedy makes for a crime sequel that’s as worth a read as the original proves.


Non-Fiction Picks of the Week
Pauline Harmanger, Scribe, $19.99

When Pauline Harmange spoke about the raw feelings her abortion aroused, a male friend said, “Well, you can’t put it back”.

In other words, she’s already made her choice, so why continue? Harmange said the abortion debate has been so intense and polarized that the complexities of the experience itself have been largely sidelined or silenced. In this personal essay, she explores the need for spaces where women can freely talk about the conflict, negativity, grief, and insecurities that can arise after abortion. When she decided to have the surgery because of her financial situation, she thought it would be “quick, easy and over”. But things are not that simple. While she has no regrets, she still has to live with a legacy of societal attitudes toward terminations and her own body’s instinctive responses. Her candid reflections add valuable nuance to a fraught debate.

the future of geography
Tim Marshall, Elliott & Thompson, $34.99


Once upon a time, outer space was the domain of the heavens, the gods. Now, it is being configured as an extension of Earth’s geography, with its geopolitical tensions, competition for resources, and potential conflict. Far from being featureless, outer space has its own geography, says Tim Marshall. There are areas of high radiation and high-gravity highways to navigate, strategic corridors for military and commercial installations, and terrain rich in natural resources. The race is on to exploit the resources there, whether it’s minerals on the moon or the advantages held by satellites. It’s a dispassionate analysis of the real politics behind the superpower scramble for cosmic dominance tempered by a sense of wonder and driven by an unsettling belief that it is human to conquer, plunder and colonize this space “destiny”.

Quarterly Paper: Bound Wires
Saul Griffith, Black Inc., $27.99


When Saul Griffith said electrification of our country was up to us, he wasn’t giving Big Energy a free pass by putting the onus on individuals. He provides a blueprint for how communities can truly take power into their own hands. In addition to considering the need to move to purely electric home appliances and cars, he outlined community-based solar solutions that would help mix home solar with energy from the existing grid. “We can choose to let the oligarchs get a piece of the coming new energy economy,” he argues, or we can take a collective approach that benefits us all. His proposed innovations include Australia-wide solar-powered electric bike lanes and the world’s first all-electric regional airport network. Chewy statistics and charts are fermented with grassroots stories and inspiring anecdotes of the revolution in progress.
Saul Griffith was a guest at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. www.swf.org.au website

barrenfield new south wales
Thomas H. Ford and Justin Clemens, University of Melbourne Press, $35


Romantic poet Percy Shelley called poets “the unacknowledged legislators of the world”. As unlikely as we now find it, when Barron Field came to Australia in 1817 as a new judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, poetry gained enough honor and influence to be used in Transform “a dictatorial penal colony into an emerging free nation” – at the expense of the natives. This bold and omitted scholarly essay argues that Field’s poetry helps to impose and legitimize the legal fiction of unclaimed land.in field’s collection of poems the firstfruits of australian poetrywhich the authors describe as “the spirit of colonialism in bad verse,” they found “a perverse management manual in which Field tells us in a carefully roundabout but unambiguous way that he wants to what to do, how he will do it, and what are the consequences”.

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