Jan/Feb 2024

e c l e c t i c a   r e v i e w s  & 
i n t e r v i e w s

Reviews & Interviews

(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

Ann Skea reviews...

Missing Pieces
by Jennifer Mackenzie Dunbar

In Missing Pieces, Jennifer Dunbar tells the rest of the story of Calum and Mhairi and their family, weaving into it the history of the island Clearances that eventually took them to America. She also uses what facts are know about the pieces, to bring to life other women, including Icelandic Magrit the Adroit, who is recorded in the Norse Sagas as the creator of a beautiful, intricately carved, walrus ivory head of a crosier made for the Archbishop of Trondheim, and which is now in the Victoria and Albert museum in London.

The Dictionary People
by Sarah Ogilvie

Most of the contributors to Murray's dictionary work were volunteers who had answered advertisements in various newspapers and journals. They were men and women with a wide range of backgrounds and from a number of different countries. Academics and intellectuals were in the minority; some volunteers had no formal education; some were self-educated; one was a successful Victorian novelist; others fitted their reading into their daily routines. Among the women there were suffragettes and suffragists, wives, mothers, and carers.

But The Girl
by Jessica Zhan Mei Yu

Girl tells us much about her experiences at the residence, especially about her strange friendship with a young woman artist, Clementine, for whom she sits for a portrait, partly as a way of avoiding writing her novel. Clementine dresses eccentrically and is friendly when they are together, but inclined to say hurtful things to and about Girl when they are with others. Girl's feelings for her fluctuate. She loves her in the good times but is confused by her and tries to find excuses for her fickleness and malice.

by Michael Fitzgerald

Zelda's taste in clothing is "quite dark" we are told, but expensive. She wears furs and black Ferragamo heels, her camera is a Leica, she likes to visit the cemetery, and she has stuck photographs of three missing young men to her apartment wall. They "are both missing and lost" and were last seen on the cliff-top headland, from which Zelda and "not Zelda" have been hearing terrible things happening late at night.

Eta Draconis
by Brendan Ritchie

Halfway to Perth, Vivienne stops at a motel, telling Elora there will be a party. "Halfers." "The halfway thing isn't literal," Vivienne tells her. For most students it is a detour, but it "started one summer, then people kept going." Elora is unprepared for the whole experience: the firepits, the students milling round trestle tables loaded with food, troughs of ice full of cans and bottle, the rituals, and the burning of paper planes made from school graduation certificates. She is puzzled when everyone treks into the bush to wade into the great salt lake, but she joins them.