Writing the Self — On Joan Didion

  Writing about Joan Didion can seem superfluous; after all, it is Joan Didion who has written most widely about Joan Didion. Perhaps more than with any other author, Didion’s personality is impossible to separate from the pages of her work. In five novels, three memoirs and an expansive collection of essays, Didion’s character drips from each precisely positioned word. This is not only a matter of style—her remarkable sense of rhythm, her incantatory repetitions of phrase, her famed lack of sentimentality—but it is the way readers can sense her world view forming and reforming each time she commits her…

Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? We Are

WINNER OF THE 2011 IVAN HUTCHINSON AWARD FOR WRITING ON AUSTRALIAN FILM FROM THE AUSTRALIAN FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION   Australians love a battler. Oft touted as the national type, the battler’s spirit has been invoked in the guise of Howard’s “ordinary Australians” or Gillard’s “working families”. From both sides of the political fence, the battler personifies the Protestant work ethic, knowing the importance of keeping one’s nose to the grindstone in the pursuit of personal salvation. The battler is, in short, the hard-working everyman, persevering in the face of adversity, eternally on the cusp of the Australian Dream – a…