Lisa Gorton’s debut collection, Press Release, came out back in 2007, but I only stumbled across it in the A820s of the Melbourne City Library just before Christmas.
I’ve been sitting down with it, giving it a good old read, and this morning I used the time it takes for the 6.53am to get from Castlemaine Station to Southern Cross (nearly typed “Spencer Street” there – whoops) to put down some thoughts about the book.
Short version: it’s got a bit of those first-collection jitters going on, but there’s some fine work to be found on its pages. Check out my review in full over on Goodreads. You know – if you want to, and stuff.
3 thoughts on “Review: Lisa Gorton – Press Release”
Something about your matter-of-fact review style is terrifying and, ultimately, refreshing.
The way you reel off the roll call of themes and forms contained within this debut collection had for me, at first, the effect of reducing what was surely for Gorton a whirlwind of nerves, trepidation and pride down to a shopping list. That was at first.
Then, I read it again and knew that this is essentially what we look to reviews to do: to let the prospective reader know what they’re in for and whether the effort is worth their while. Perhaps my initial reaction was coloured by the hypothetical situation in which I should find my own work being critiqued in a similarly prosaic and pragmatic way; I don’t think I’d like it (particularly being told that only 6 out of 40ish pieces are enjoyable), but surely the review is not intended for the author?
Here’s to more honest criticism that points out the good bits and speaks honestly about the bad (or, at least, the not-so-good). Here’s one prospective reader who’ll seek out Gorton’s work based on a great review, i.e., a well-written one.
Well, I never intended to be terrifying, so here’s to being refreshing!
Thanks so much for your feedback, Benjamin. I really appreciate it.