Author Archives: Antonella Gambotto-Burke

The Waterless Sea: A Curious History of Mirages / Christopher Pinney

“And yet it is in this glamour or promise that Pinney locates the mirage’s transhistorical ­appeal: ‘A delusive persuasiveness that even men of science could not deny.’ This willingness to be duped by a beautiful delusion has its roots in that which Joseph ­Addison called ‘the pleasures of the imagination’. In the First World, the closest most of us come to a mirage is through unwise love, the illusion of union where there is nothing other than the refraction of hope.”

– from my review of Christopher Pinney’s “The Waterless Sea: A Curious History of Mirages”

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Tziporah Malkah / Antonella Gambotto-Burke

“’He’d been masturbating,’ she says, her throat thickening with disgust. ‘At first, I didn’t quite know what it was – I kind of did, but wasn’t sure. And I gasped, shocked. I cried, ‘Gross! You’re gross! That’s disgusting!’ And he said, ‘Kiss me!’ He just kept coming for me. I left. It was only a short walk to the model’s apartment. I remember going home and saying, ‘He just put something on my face!’ One of the older girls – and by ‘older’, I mean 17 or 18 – we were all living together in a bunk room – said, ‘That’s his sperm.’”

– from my interview with Tziporah Malkah aka Kate Fischer in The Neighbourhood today.

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Fairies: A Dangerous History / Richard Sugg

“Were fairies, say, a species of half-life ­perceived only at a certain frequency in half-light, there would be no place for them in today’s gridlock of manufactured — and brain-altering — electromagnetic waves. Context, then, may be said to determine ­perception. Presenting mythology as a blanket in which cultures wrap themselves, Sugg writes: ‘This, then, was a natural world with few, if any, blank or meaningless spaces.'”

– from my review of Fairies: A Dangerous History

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#ibelieveinfairies

Mothers: An Essay on Love + Cruelty / Jacqueline Rose

“What, in the end, is Rose arguing? That motherhood is wrongly sentimentalised or that she feels excluded by mothers who do not ­experience ambivalence in their role? That mothers should be heard? Of course we urgently need a revision of cultural­ — and, concomitantly, political — prioritie­s, but such changes will never be implemented if we continue insisting on the same modalities in which meaning is externalised and love sacrificed to status.”

– from my review of Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty

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Girl Power / The Mirror (UK)

I’ve had two of the biggest (sentimental) thrills of my professional life within a week: the most recent is appearing here with activist & 2014 Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Virginia Woolf, Maya Angelou, Emmeline Pankhurst and JK Rowling as one of the most inspiring international activists for women’s rights.

Bethesda nearly had a cardiac arrest over the fact that my quote is mentioned alongside Taylor Swift’s – wild shrieking could be heard as she danced around the house.

#girlpower #loveistruth #equalrights #womensrights #loveisrespect #respect

My brother at his very best

“It is difficult to describe my brother’s comic riffs without his understated expression, metronome nods, and low, wry voice. That and a bus ticket, he would drawl, will get you to Neutral Bay. Where my laugh is an octave played by Chopin, his was remarkable: from this solid, heavy-jawed man, laughter like a pumping garden hose suddenly freed from the sprinkler – undulating, wildly glittering through the bluest air. My brother’s laugh was unexpected, sheer, and ravishing and in it, he was liberated. Just watch me fly! The properties of his laugh were magical, but also used to disguise truth. My brother used laughter as a kind of insulation or substitute for emotional revelation. Like that last email he sent his friend, it was part of a greater insistence that all was fine when it was not. I pressed him to acknowledge hurts. Sometimes he allowed pain to surface. In razor-grabs, he expressed feelings denied him. The speed and compression of these admissions suggested a fear of judgment.”

– from The Eclipse, A Memoir of Suicide

This photograph of Gianluca in the old Macquarie Bank headquarters on Bond Street just arrived in my inbox from an old workmate of his. It is the most adorable picture of him ever taken – on the cusp of giggling, the very soul of mischief.

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