Now reading: Pnin, by Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin (1957) Nabokov began creating the eponymous character of this novella (or collection of loosely-linked stories), the Russian exile Timofey Pavlovich Pnin, assistant professor at the fictional Waindell College, as an antidote to the claustrophobic Humbert Humbert of Lolita. Despite Pnin’s bumbling, miscommunication and heartbreak, he is an endearing character, one for whom…

Now reading: Being Martha’s friend, by Meg Mooney

Meg Mooney, Being Martha’s friend (Picaro Press, 2015) Land and people. Place and space. Searching and belonging. These themes resonate strongly throughout this collection (her third) of poetry that could come from nowhere else but out of the red sand of Central Australia. The poetics are subtle, the narrative spare but honest. Each poem cooks like…

Now reading: Genesis, by Sebastiao Salgado

Sebastiao Salgado, Genesis Not a novel or non-fiction. This is one man’s love letter to the planet in about one thousand stunningly surreal and unique black-and-white images. If you haven’t seen Salgado’s work, then have a look at this weighty hardback. And go and see the insightful documentary about his life in photography – The Salt of…

… Once it was said they died for us …

The call of a bugle in the early morning. … The day of the dead began. … We stopped by the war memorial. Slowly the others gathered, from the shanties and from the camp, called by that ancient and haunting bugle-cry, whose sound to me is like the memory of a grief so old that…

Now reading: Journey to Horseshoe Bend, by TGH Strehlow

TGH Strehlow, Journey to Horseshoe Bend (Rigby 1978 reprint) For anyone even remotely interested in the intercultural history and landscape of Central Australia, this small volume is revered as being one of the gospel texts. A ‘true’ story of the struggle between life and death, and of faith, whilst travelling through a landscape whose mythological essence continues…

Now reading: A country in mind, by Saskia Beudel

Saskia Beudel, A country in mind: memoir with landscape (UWAP 2013) Although the cover image (of a bushwalker, large pack on back, standing amongst footprints on sand with, apart from her shadow, no other distinguishing features) and the blurb (about trekking in Central Australia, Tasmania, Ladakh, and the outward journey and the inward journey that…