Reviewer: JR

By this author

Books March 10, 2018

The Shepherd’s Hut

The Shepherd’s Hut is the outrageous story of a headlong bolt through the remotest outback by a charismatic gun-toting teenager determined to reunite with his girlfriend half a continent away. It’s Winton’s 29th book and the closest thing …

Books February 03, 2018

The Only Story

Julian Barnes is the de facto novelist laureate of the English postwar middle classes. Across his handful of novels and many short-story collections, he has held a mirror to the world of middle managers and provincial bankers, treating their myths and …

Books December 16, 2017

The Years, Months, Days

The Years, Months, Days was awarded the prestigious Lu Xun Literary Prize in 2001 and is among Chinese author Yan Lianke’s most popular novellas. It’s also a weirdly intoxicating book that moves from passages of stark realism to the most …

Books November 25, 2017

Border Districts

It begins, this mesmeric inward spiral of a book, with a digressive turn towards the past: Two months ago, when I first arrived in this township just short of the border, I resolved to guard my eyes, and I could not think of going on with this piece …

Books October 28, 2017

The Passage of Love

Alex Miller is a gifted writer whose most compelling books – Journey to the Stone Country, for example, or Autumn Laing – have a simplicity of vision, an earthiness and poignancy, an integrity and grace few can match. How surprising …

Books October 07, 2017

The Life to Come

Pippa used to be Narelle when she lived up north with her mum. She changed her name the day she turned 18 because she was convinced that no one named Narelle could ever win the Booker. And Pippa desperately wanted to win the Booker. She still does. For …

Books September 23, 2017

The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc

It begins with the Maid of Orléans, history’s most charismatic female hero, languishing in an English dungeon. Great ladies glide through and brutish guards hurl abuse, but none suspect her secret: the warrior virgin who led an army and changed the …

Books September 16, 2017

Rain Birds

Harriet McKnight’s debut novel is a rather bleak and dispiriting portrait of two women on the verge of nervous breakdowns, and of a world on the verge of environmental catastrophe. Pina Marinelli is a middle-aged woman whose husband has early onset …

Books August 05, 2017


He may have grown up on a wheat and wool farm, but Garry Disher is far from sentimental when it comes to life on the land. His latest novel is about a girl bought for a handful of coins by a villainous scrap man and pressed into a life of drudgery and …