Sunday, May 12, 2024

Mothers - Magnificent Rebels: Alexis Wright

Mothers are like glue. Even when you can’t see them, they’re still holding the family together.

A mother understands what a child does not say.”

- a proverb


  • “There is no velvet so soft as a mother’s lap, no rose as lovely as her smile, no path so flowery as that imprinted with her footsteps.”
  •  —Archibald Thompson

  • My mother Maria Imrichova was 
  • a soulful cook at home 
  • a professional chef at work: 
  • a maker of extraordinary pirozky 
  • and pies 

  • As Tenneva Jordan observed:

  • “A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” 

Courtesy of RC -  quote from St Augustine 

‘ St Augustine said that happiness is continuing to desire what one already has’


As Australians navigate the fragility of this time and work to rebuild a more solid future, local writers will play an important role”

Literature is the heart and soul of each country and can help develop greater understanding.

Reviewed by the New York Times in February, Praiseworthy was hailed as “the most ambitious and accomplished Australian novel of this century”, an appraisal the Stella chair of judges, Beejay Silcox, concurs with.

Praiseworthy is not only a great Australian novel – perhaps the great Australian novel – it is also a great Waanyi novel,” Silcox said in her statement.

“And it is written in the wild hope that, one day, all Australian readers might understand just what that means. I do not understand. Not yet. But I can feel history calling to me in these pages. Calling to all of us. Imagine if we listened.”

In September, Praiseworthy won the University of Queensland fiction book award. It has also been shortlisted for the Queensland premier’s award for a work of state significance, the prestigious €100,000 International Dublin literary award, and the James Tait Black memorial prize, the UK’s oldest prize for literature.

Alexis Wright said a lifetime of studying literature from across the world enabled her to understand how she “might write the book that I wanted to write”; a book incorporating 60,000 years of storytelling and an unswerving scrutiny of contemporary reality; a book whose “vision is dark, humour tar-black, narration irrepressible, language roiling and rococo”, according to Guardian critic Declan Fry.

“It has an Aboriginal consciousness in it but it has a worldwide literary consciousness,” Wright said.

“Praiseworthy’s been developed through really deep thought and hard work over a long period of time, with many, many false starts and reworking and reworking and until I’m absolutely sure that every page, every part of that book stands up and won’t fall over.

“And it’s what I’ve hoped to achieve … to broaden the literary landscape here, to produce a work that’s right for our times here in this country and right for the times across the world.”

‘Perhaps the great Australian novel’: Alexis Wright wins Stella prize for second time with Praiseworthy

 Magnificent Rebels: The First Romantics and the Invention of the Self by Andrea Wulf  & Time of theMagicians: The Invention of Modern Thought, 1919-1929 by Wolfram Eilenberger are reviewed by Richard Nigel Mullender

Voltaire and Diderot “allegedly drank 50 cups of coffee per day” — that one line is my excuse for putting this 5 minute video on the history of coffee here

On Gaslighting by Kate Abramson is reviewed by Dodai Stewart at The New York Times

Spinoza: Life and Legacy by Jonathan I. Israel is reviewed by Carlos Fraenkel at The Times Literary Supplement

Who’s Afraid of Gender by Judith Butler is reviewed Lyndsey Stonebridge at The New Statesmanand by Jane O’Grady at The Telegraph.