Book Review: Portable Curiosities, by Julie Koh




It was only when a one-dimensional yellow man stepped out of a cinema screen and into a plush red theatre on George Street that audience members noticed him from behind their 3D glasses. The Three Dimensional Yellow Man


I had the pleasure of seeing Julie Koh speak at a couple of events for the Perth Writers Festival - and instantly feel in love with her satirical humour, self-awareness and general goodness! She seemed like someone I would want to be friends with - so of course buying her book was the next step.


I can hands down say that I have never read anything like it! This collection is otherworldly and yet very much centred in modern reality. Koh takes real examples of life in Asian and Australian culture and magnifies them into satirical, grossly warped scenarios, that are simultaneously engrossing and a little disturbing to read.


I love how her mind works. She spins her examples of consumerism, racism and sexism into these intense stories, but yet also manages to deliver them with such a downplay, like they are the most ordinary and standard thing in the world. If you've seen her speak or do a reading, you'll understand this is all part of the process for Koh, taking the disturbing or surreal, and planting it squarely in a story that could easily be translated over to reality. I love her delivery and loved reading her perspective on the topics she confronts.


I highly recommend this collection, it's definitely not for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed indulging in some darkness.


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Copyright © 2020 Elaine Mead | Coffee&Books

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