A 2021 book of the year

Nicholas Jose in the Australian Book Review 2021 Books of the Year

Becoming a Bird: Untold stories about art by Stephanie Radok

A calendar year with its daily tour of the back yard and walks with the dog to the park as months go by. Artist–writer Stephanie Radok’s Becoming a Bird: Untold stories about art (Wakefield Press) is a marvellous book about the freedom of the mind to take wing from within the confines of a loved locality and a committed routine. Radok roams far and wide, remembering museum and art gallery visits around the world, books, places, and people, enquiring into complex things with a candid clarity of utterance and insight. ‘Who are you?’ a Prague cousin asks. The answer comes: ‘In this suburb in a room in a house in a garden in a book on a shelf behind a door in a cupboard, complete worlds are present and folded together.’ Not forgetting The Right to be Lazy by John Knight, a work of art the author saw in Berlin that consisted purely of weeds left to grow

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