Showing all posts tagged: Trent Dalton

Critic Swallows Book marks 10 years for Sydney Review of Books

14 August 2023

Critic Swallows Book, by Sydney Review of Books, book cover

Book cover of Critic Swallows Book, published by the Sydney Review of Books.

Australian literary criticism journal, the Sydney Review of Books (SRB), has been online for ten years. To mark the occasion, SRB has published a book, Critic Swallows Book, containing twenty-two essays, written by contributors over the past decade:

It includes essays on decolonising Australian literature and revisiting the classics, on blockbuster fiction and book-length poems, on modernism in the Antipodes and reading during the pandemic. Essays on Susan Sontag and Rita Felski sit alongside critical considerations of the work of Murray Bail and Joan London, of new books by Evelyn Araluen and Samia Khatun.

Hmm… Critic Swallows Book, if you think the title is riffing on Boy Swallows Universe, the 2018 novel by Australian author Trent Dalton, I think you’d be right. Catriona Menzies-Pike, editor of Critic Swallows Book, wrote a scathing critique of Boy Swallows Universe for SRB in May 2022.


, , ,

A critique of Trent Dalton’s novels by Catriona Menzies-Pike

23 May 2022

An in-depth look at the writing of Brisbane based Australian author Trent Dalton, in particular his two bestsellers Boy Swallows Universe, and All Our Shimmering Skies, by Catriona Menzies-Pike, editor of the Sydney Review of Books.

If Dalton’s prose style skims the surfaces of his characters’ lives, so does his thinking about the moral and political world. Dalton infantilises his audience by feeding them palatable maxims about history, society and human flourishing. The themes are repeated again and again in case the rowdy kids up the back aren’t paying attention.

It’s a longer read, but well worth the time. It seems to me effectively critiquing a work of fiction — as is writing a good novel in the first place — is an art form in itself. Many of the book reviews I read — and, doubtless — write myself, essentially summarise the plot and include a few words as to the merit or otherwise of the title. There’s nothing wrong with that, when choosing what to read next I often quickly look for a consensus, before deciding what to do.


, ,

Boy Swallows Universe in Netflix screen adaptation

4 March 2022

 Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, book cover

Boy Swallows Universe, the 2018 semi-autobiographical debut novel by Australian writer Trent Dalton, is set to be adapted into an eight-part series by Netflix.

While details are still scant, it is believed Australian actor and filmmaker Joel Edgerton will be one of the show’s producers, and we can expect to see it on screens sometime in 2023, or 2024.

This is huge news for fans of Dalton’s book.



Love Stories, by Trent Dalton

4 November 2021

Love Stories, by Trent Dalton, book cover

Don’t we all love a great love story? Especially when it’s ours? (I walked into a bar one night. That was lucky because I hardly ever walk into bars…) But walking is what Brisbane based Australian journalist and novelist Trent Dalton did as well. He walked the streets of Adelaide and Brisbane, looking for stories: stories of love.

He’d set up a portable table somewhere, place an old typewriter – left to him by the late mother of a friend – on it, and then stop passers-by to ask them to tell him a story. Maybe you saw him. Did he ask you to tell your story? Would you, if he’d asked? Of all the things you could ask a total stranger at random, I get the feeling it’s a question a lot of people would be happy to answer. Because who doesn’t like telling a story of love? The fruits of this labour, which sometimes saw Dalton at his mobile workstation for eight hours a day, is Love Stories (published by HarperCollins, 27 October 2021).

They say truth is stranger than fiction, and I could only imagine how wondrous, raw, inspiring, and even heartbreaking this collection of stories is. Dalton was recently a guest on Words and Nerds, a podcast show hosted by Dani Vee, where he talked about Love Stories, and what prompted him to write the book. It’s a heart-warming discussion well worth listening to.


, , ,