Violence and Murder (and Feminism): An Isolated Incident

Part of me is so weary of crime novels and TV dramas revolving around the discovery of (another) mutilated body of a woman.  What bugs me is not depicting the reality that women get murdered.  Of course they do, every day, of every week, of every year.  My issue is that I feel uncomfortable, even voyeuristic, watching the investigators, journalists and the rest of cast paw over the details of her life and her death.  Of course, her murder is never condoned and the murderer receives our strongest condemnation.  But beyond the surface-level motive, there is never any exploration of why this happened.  What is it about our culture that creates the space for these events; that makes it unsurprising when another women is violently murdered?

I picked up Emily Maguire’s An Isolated Incident expecting a run-of-the-mill crime thriller (although a very good one given its accolades), and found instead an astonishing novel that expertly delivers a poignant yet gripping read, while exploring the drivers of violence against women. I can’t think of another novel like it.

Two bee books in two weeks: The World Without Us and The Bees

Queen Bee.  Bee in your bonnet. Busy as a bee. The bees’ knees. The birds and the bees. Like bees to a honey pot. I only recently realised how many idioms, metaphors and symbols about bees we’ve adopted into the English language.  This realisation came when quite by accident in the space of a fortnight, I read two bee-themed books back-to-back:  The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau and The Bees by Laline Paull.

This is why we need women only book prizes…

Hands up those who get sick of explaining why we still need feminism? 664392

It doesn’t seem to matter what statistics say about the gender pay gap, occupational segregation, family violence, women in leadership, poverty, misogyny in mainstream and social media etcetera – some remain unconvinced.

Hands up those who get sick of explaining why we still need women only book prizes?  

Young, female, Australian

Back in 1969, American short story writer and novelist John Cheever complained of the underdog status of short stories, calling the short story ‘something of a bum‘. I bought Six Bedrooms after being exhorted by Charlotte Wood (winner of 2016 Stella Prize) to support the Australian book industry by buying more books;  it turns out I am easily persuaded on such matters. Otherwise, I probably would’ve passed over this collection.  Like a lot of folk, I don’t tend to gravitate to short story collections, and my last exploration into this territory with Hot Little Hands left me feeling a little meh.  However, Tegan Bennet Daylight’s skill with this form has me recalibrating my position.