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Discordant Notes

Journal of Australian Studies 88
Bart Ziino Who Owns Gallipoli? Australia's Gallipoli Anxieties 1915-2005, Sue Lovell, 'Dew to the Soul': One Australian Artist's Response to War, Peter Kirkpatrick Hunting the Wild Reciter: Elocution and the Art of Recitation, Felicity Plunkett 'You Make Me a Dot in the Nowhere': Textual Encounters in the Australian Immigration Story (the Fourth Chapter), Bridget Griffen-Foley From the Murrumbidgee to Mamma Lena: Foreign Language Broadcasting on Australian Commercial Radio, Part I, Emily Pollnitz ...
Wednesday, 30th July 2014
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API Review of Books

Altitude BirdIssue 44
Features reviews by Kathleen Broderick, Linn Miller, Christine Choo, Bill Thorpe, David Ritter, Eve Vincent, Stephanie Bishop, Alison Miles, Richard Kay, Amanda Day, Bernard Whimpress, Mads Clausen, Marion May Campbell, Sylvia Alston, Catie Gilchrist, Eva Chapman, Lucy Dougan, Stephen Lawrence and Nathanael O'Reilly. Click here for more details.


Altitude BirdPopular Music: Practices, Formations and Change - Australian Perspectives
The papers collected here in this special edition of Altitude offer a brief snapshot of popular music research broadly connected with Australia. The essays demonstrate the variety of theoretical and methodological approaches used by researchers in the fields of popular music studies and cultural studies to explore themes of popular music practice, formation and change in an Australian context. Click here for more details.


Two Shanes

By Lee Tulloch, Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2001, 294 pages, paperback, $27.50. Reviewed by Geoff Parkes in the November 2001 issue.

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All copyrighters should be schooled in the avoidance of generic labels such as 'romantic comedy'. It's enough to ruin an otherwise enjoyable weave through the myriad identities of contemporary New York and Australia in Lee Tulloch's third novel. Set in the bustling metropolis more known for its ostentatious wealth than its waves, surfer Shane Dekker finds himself drifting through NYC's subway, rather than riding the ocean he loves. Along comes Finley Rule, dividing her work time between a hipper-than-thou record store, and one of New York's only surf shops. A relationship buds, an ex is involved and if that were all there was to this novel then I'd rather drink Meg Ryan's blood than continue reading. Thankfully it's not.

In a plot that twists and turns a number of times, another Australian, an actor whose name is written as Cheyne, but pronounced the same way, enters the urbane scene and, via a series of misunderstandings, the two are regularly confused, leading to a multiplicity of confrontations that drive the novel to its unexpected climax. Tulloch has cleverly woven into the novel a twenty-first century update of Wilde's classic The Importance of Being Earnest, and it's a measure of her skill that this reworking only becomes apparent much later in the text, though hints are dropped throughout.

As a fictional account of the complexities of identity and a subtle critique of the way Australia is sold to the world, Two Shanes makes its points well, without being overwhelmingly obvious. Tulloch's narrative style is quick and often colloquial, a tool that can mask the depth of questioning inherent to the tale but one that doesn't distract from the thrust of the plot's delivery. The novel functions well as both a relaxing and humorous tale of confusion, and something that leaves the door open to further analysis and discussion, something rare and welcome in the cut and thrust world of commercial publishing.


  • Geoff Parkes. 'Review: Two Shanes by Lee Tulloch' [online]. Network Review of Books (Perth, Australian Public Intellectual Network), November 2001. Availability: <please cite the web address here> ISSN 1833-0932. [accessed 30 July 2014].

Back Cover Blurb

  • Two Shanes is Lee Tulloch's best and funniest novel. A brilliantly plotted romantic comedy that readers won't be able to put down, it tells the story of two Australians living in New York, a surfer named Shane Dekker, and Cheyne Burdekin, an aspiring actor. The lives of these strangers overlap in hilariously unpredictable ways, especially after Shane meets the dark-haired Finley Rule in a surf shop, and Cheyne's old flame Avalon jets in from Brisbane.

    'Like the best fashion writers, Tulloch has always approached the glamour world from a socio-cultural perspective, gently pinning back fashion's butterfly wings and skewering it with humour.' Vogue

    'A sharp-eyed social satirist…Tulloch has always shared Armistead Maupin's skill for writing quirky characters…Tulloch has an infallible bullshit detector' Sydney Morning Herald

    'There is plenty of hyperbole, satire and good old sarcasm in Two Shanes. Tulloch has a lot of fun sticking her tongue out at vacuous soapie stars…Just as she deconstructed the lofty world of fashion in Fabulous Nobodies, Tulloch also takes swipes at the superficiality of the acting industry and the art of 'cool-surfing'… She is merciless in her treatment of the so-hip-it-hurts New York culture of branding and posturing.' Age

    'This is a Manhattan cocktail made with the merest hint of Martin Amis strained over early Jay McInerny; stirred with Vegemite jokes, Crocodile Dundee stereotypes and a suspicion of Bazza McKenzie. It works well at this level.' Weekend Australian 'Genuinely funny…a good hearted romp' Bulletin

    'This grungy comedy of mistaken identities has much fun…a hip, relaxed third novel, driven by New York's fascination for anything Antipodean…Tulloch has a sharp eye for character and cultural differences' Who Weekly

    'A clever and original plot…hilarious…the reader will not get lost—they'll just get chuckles.' The Examiner

    'A timely novel…a witty piece of social observation' Sunday Age

    'Lee has a wit and humour that makes her a true observer of the flamboyant and the creative.' Fashion Journal

    'An entertaining comedy of errors…Another page-turner with style from the author of Fabulous Nobodies.' Marie Claire

Have You Also Read?

  • Feather-stone

    imageKirsty Gunn, Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2002, 318 Pages, Paperback, $24.95
    Reviewed by Enza Gandolfo in the October 2002 issue.

    Francie Johanssen's return to Featherstone, the small country town that is the setting of Kirsty Gunn's third novel, is mysterious and unconfirmed. We never meet Francie but her presence (or at least the feeling of it) during one hot summer weekend is unsettling for her uncle Sonny, her ex-boyfriend Ray, and in their friends and neighbours. In Featherstone, Gunn is concerned with longing and desire; with love in all its facets -- sexual, familial and platonic, unconditional, unrequited and obsessive. But the central theme of the novel and the key lesson for the characters is redemption without which, as one of the central characters says towards the end of the novel, it is impossible to keep ... read more.

Network Review of Books

Text Publishing

  • The Text Publishing Company is a vibrant and distinctive independent Australian publisher with interests across the spectrum of quality fiction and non-fiction.

NRB November 2001

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