A Book, a Playlist: Steeplechase

Steeplechase, a novel by Brisbane-based writer Krissy Kneen, explores the relationships between many things: between sisters Bec and Emily, between art and madness, and between the past and present. Bec, a painter and tertiary art teacher living in Brisbane, receives a phone call from her estranged sister Emily while recovering from surgery. Emily, an acclaimed artist and now living in Beijing, invites Bec to visit her for the opening of a new show. With this, Bec is confronted by an awful past, some great and terrible event during their isolated childhood in rural Queensland that drove the two sisters apart.

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Anna Goldsworthy, gender, feminism and misogyny

I have just finished reading Anna Goldsworthy’s Quarterly Essay: Unfinished Business. It is an intelligent and exhaustive look at women, power, misogyny and feminism in today’s Australia. The essay begins with Julia Gillard’s now famous misogyny speech and from there it twists and turns into so many areas of female representation and female silence in today’s society. One of the central questions of the essay is: will young girls and women sitting at home, watching our Prime Minister being beaten and shouted down because she is a woman—will these young girls and women want to stand up and attempt to take power for themselves one day?

Je t’aime… moi non plus

She pauses in the hallway. She stops. I glance over my shoulder. She has seen someone, perhaps someone standing in the other room. Behind me there is a party in its last sordid throes. A death rattle of celebration, someone’s shoes cast adrift on a wine-stained carpet, pâté on the furniture, the final gurgle of wine in the bottom of a cheap cask. I am a little drunk but not so much so that I might think that this woman is looking at me. She has been incendiary. She started with laughter, short and bright as fireworks. This at the beginning of the evening. It was impossible not to notice her. She had arrived with a young biology student who seemed disinterested in her. He flopped into a couch with his bottle of vodka cradled in his lap and proceeded to drink it with steady diligence. But now the biology student is asleep. His position has barely changed, the bottle still propped up in his lap, his cup resting on the arm of the couch, his head tipped back and his lips slightly parted. I am not sure if they were together or just sharing a lift as a matter of convenience. There is no one behind me. She is looking at me.

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