26 September 2023

Meanjin Quarterly, Spring 2022 edition

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Edited by Jonathan Green, Melbourne University Publishing, $24.99.

“In these days when the world of the present seems battered about with bad things, the ground we’ve known so far feels ready to crumble … and the future appears white with mist-seen terrors, we understand things differently from each other but we feel the same instincts.”

The cover essay ― Is It Just Me? ― is a convincing piece from Kate Holden in this issue. She looks at the great paradox of modern life: the many commonalities of human experience and our increasing isolation as atomised individuals … and this at a time when the most pressing, even existential, issues of the moment demand a collective response.

As editor Jonathan Green points out:

“The paradox of our moment is that saving ourselves will require collective responses to issues that threaten the collective of humanity. Yet culturally, and perhaps even by instinct, we are a driven and isolated set of peoples. While human atomisation is the motif of our moment, our hope lies in our commonality, and in the shared challenge of all that confronts us.”

Perhaps, it’s the instincts of our better, joined, human nature that may save us.

In addition to reviews and poetry, other essays include: Jennifer Mills on the sliding scale of literary dystopia … what’s a writer of speculative fiction to do when the real world so quickly outpaces the world of dystopian imaginings?

Bruce Pascoe on the lost white orchids of Melbourne. Lauren Rosewarne on the sexualisation of powerful men. Chelsea Watego on the subtext of rascism behind poor, and sometimes fatal, outcomes for Indigenous Australians in the health system. Jane Gilmore on why we talk about sexual assault when we mean rape.

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