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Can we separate Art from Life?

‘To value a piece of work does not require us to applaud its creator.” (Ashleigh Wilson, On Artists, MUP, 2019) Or does it? Do we have to love the artist to love the work? Think of Pablo Picasso, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen. All can be judged as having questionable morals. If, like me, you’ve always enjoyed movies such as Allen’s […]

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Talking About Capriccio

AUTHOR TALK: Dina Davis with Susannah Fullerton. Review by Susan Beinart On 3 February 2019, Waverley Library Theatrette resounded with the voices of Dina Davis in conversation with Susannah Fullerton, at the Sydney launch of Dina’s début work, Capriccio: A Novel. This novel was inspired by the lives of Assia Wevill, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. This roman à clef covers the love-triangle that played out between these three poets, highlighting, for the first time, Wevill’s role in this fascinating tale. Fullerton, well known at Library events for her deep knowledge of Jane Austen and other historical writers, asked Davis probing questions about Capriccio: A Novel. Davis answered Fullerton’s questions with passion and honesty. The conversation flowed and the audience was riveted. We learned much about Capriccio: A Novel, including that Davis wrote it with commitment, partly because she felt passionate about the single-mother plight of Wevill, who had, apart from a biography, thus far escaped literary interest. No longer. This fine novel will surely provoke more interest in Wevill, who is known as ‘Esther’ in the book. Names of all the protagonists were changed at the request of the Hughes Estate. PAGE 2 Adapted from Friends of the Waverley Library Newsletter, SPRING 2019

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What’s in a Name?

‘What’s in a name? A rose by any name would smell as sweet.’(WIlliam Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scene 2) When I was born, several lifetimes it seems to me now, my scholarly grandfather gave me my name. ‘Dina’ he pronounced, ‘after one of our ancestors from the ancient town of Safed in Palestine, now Israel. Little did he know […]

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A Feast of Film

My year of movie-watching started with the little-known YAH (Young at Heart)  festival, followed by the fantastic Alliance Française French Film Festival. Here are some of my favourites: Catherine Deneuve features twice: in the magnificent new print of Buñuel’s 60’s masterpiece ‘Belle Du Jour’, first as the bored housewife Séverine who fulfils her erotic fantasies by secretly becoming a prostitute, and secondly as the ageing ‘Claire Darling’, an octogenarian with a death wish, released 60 years after ‘Belle Du Jour’. Deneuve shines in both films, displaying an amazing range of thespian talent. Her beauty through the years is undiminished, as we see her at each end of her long life. It’s poignant to see her acting alongside her real-life daughter Chiara Mastroianni in Julie Bertuccelli’s ‘Claire Darling’ (La Dernière Folie de Claire Darling). Another ‘Blast from the Past’ was the magic and mysterious ‘Last Year at Marienbad’, in a beautifully restored version. Directed by Alain Resnais in 1959, this surrealist black and white movie has lost nothing of its magic in half a century, leaving this viewer as if woken from a dream. Other highlights for me were the satiric ‘Man in a Hurry’, (un Homme Pressé) which played wicked games with French spelling, when its star, the whimsical Fabrice Luchini, learns to speak again after a stroke, and ‘Family Photo’, again directed by a woman, Cécilia Rouaud. Its humour had a bitter edge, perhaps too close a reminder of the invisibility […]

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RIP Anita Shreve

Dina Davis’s Reviews > The Stars Are Fire “https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/41784640-dina-davis” The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve Dina Davis‘s review I am sad to learn of Anita Shreve’s death. I have read every one of her novels and enjoyed them. They are accessible, easy reads with good pace and well-drawn characters. Sadly The Stars are Fire did not come up to the standard of her previous novels. There were some undeveloped characters, and it was hard to feel sympathy for Grace as she displayed the typical subservience of a woman in an abusive marriage. The plot was a little disjointed and difficult to follow. I wanted to know more about Grace’s relationship with the doctor she worked for. On the whole I was disappointed, but still appreciated Shreve’s use of language, and her obvious love of the Maine coastline always shines through. Requiescat in Pace. Excerpt from Anita Shreve’s Obituary, copyright Washington Post Ms. Shreve was a teacher, journalist and nonfiction author before she began to focus on fiction in her early 40s. She went on to publish 18 novels, which became fixtures of countless book groups and attracted a large and loyal following. Many of Ms. Shreve’s novels were set in New England and touched on subjects as diverse as airplane crashes, textile mills and World War II. Her books seldom had happy endings, but all of them shared an irresistible page-turning quality, with a strong emotional undercurrent, often colored […]

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