Thinking Allowed - Including musings by Daan Spijer.

Book Reviews

March 21, 2018

Where does she think she is?

Alison Evans
Echo Publishing, 2017
ISBN: 9781760404383
244 pp

There have been many novels about people with multiple personalities or split ones. This book is very different from any I’ve read – one character, one personality, multiple existences.

Alison Evans breaks new ground: as an author and in the creation of the characters who inhabit this gripping book. Alison identifies as genderqueer – she doesn’t identify as male or female and eschews the female and male third person personal pronouns, using ‘they’ instead. One of the characters in Ida’s world, Daisy, reflects this. (more…)

From the Kitchen

February 28, 2018

From the Kitchen #199

Convergent Diversity

When I was growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, there were only two genders and those who didn’t fit comfortably within either one or the other were labelled as ‘poofters’ or ‘lesbos’. There was no room for subtlety. I am so glad that we are moving away from that binary disrespect, because disrespect it was. (more…)

From the Kitchen

February 8, 2018

From the Kitchen #198

We cannot predict or properly imagine what our society will look and feel like when we stop trying to regard all people as the same and, instead, see each person as a human being: a unique expression of humanity.

Some of you reading the above will immediately protest that I am denying the equality of all people. I am not arguing for or against treating any other person as my equal. We use the word ‘equality’ too loosely, and it is wrong to treat every person equally in a society that cares about the welfare, health and happiness of all the people who are part of that society. (more…)

Book Reviews

November 1, 2017

The Dry

The Dry
Jane Harper
ISBN: 9781925481372
342 pp
Pan Macmillan 2016

A novel needs strong characters. These are usually human, sometimes animal. They are rarely the condition of the weather or a whole town.

In The Dry, Jane Harper manages to make of both the relentlessly hot drought and the oppressive rural Australian town two palpable characters that potently influence the thoughts and behaviours of the other, human, characters. The weather and the town are both portrayed as malevolent organisms. (more…)

Book Reviews

October 18, 2017

Good Me Bad Me

Good Me Bad Me
Ali Land
ISBN: 9781405923910
340 pp
Penguin 2017

What makes someone a bad person in the eyes of others? Annie has become who she is largely through her mother’s habit of killing children in her home in the west of England and making Annie watch.

In her mid-teens Annie finally ‘escapes’ and goes to the police with her blood-chilling story. She feels that this makes her a good person, though she is conflicted about standing up to her mother. Her mother is arrested and held in custody pending trial, and much of this thriller is set in the time between the arrest and the trial. Annie is to be the main prosecution witness and is sent to live, incognito, with a family in London for her own safety – only a few people know what and where she has come from. (more…)

From the Kitchen

September 10, 2017

From the Kitchen #197

Where do you hope your life will go? Why do you want it to go anywhere?

Humans have the ability to imagine almost without limit, including imagining things and places. It allows me to ‘pretend’ that I am somewhere other than where my physical body is right now; it allows me to hope that I can escape from the place where I am sitting, at this moment in the present. (more…)

From the Kitchen

September 3, 2017

From the Kitchen #196

It is March 2028 and, I think, time to review ten years since marriage equality was voted into law in Australia. One thing that has become clear is that in Australia, unlike in any of the other nations of the world that allowed it, the consequences of marriage equality on its society have been ‘interesting’. This is on top of the fact that Australia lagged behind the other countries. (more…)

From the Kitchen

July 5, 2017

From the Kitchen #195

MO-BE-US (the future does not exist)

The theme of this essay is contained in its centre. There is no time; therefore, there is no future.


MO: Modus Operandi – how we operate in the world; how we make sense of it.

BE: Beginning-Ending – our concept of flow; a construct.

US: Unifying Semantics – thoughts communicated through words in an attempt to reach consensus about reality. (more…)

Book Reviews

November 28, 2016

Hearts set free

captive_prince_cover-200pxCaptive Prince Trilogy – Prince’s Gambit, Kings Rising
C S Pacat
Penguin Viking 2013-16
ISBN: 9780143799597 / 9780143799603 / 9780143799610
$19.99 each
262/376/341 pp

This trilogy is, at heart, a complex love story. We see it develop through the three books, heartrendingly and carnally. It is no ordinary romance, but one beset by intrigue, power, false starts and danger. (more…)

From the Kitchen

November 24, 2016

From the Kitchen #194

194-scrolling_credits-450pxThere is a story, hopefully not true, about a man offering to register the birth of his un‑partnered sister’s girl-and-boy twins. He names the girl Denise and the boy Denephew. (more…)