Reviewer: JR

By this author

Books August 25, 2018

The Biographer’s Lover

Ruby J. Murray is the grandniece of Arthur Boyd and she has written an attractive, slender novel about an obscure but very great painter and the young biographer who creates the artist’s posthumous reputation. This is a book where lurid family secrets …

Books August 11, 2018

The Rapids

Sam Twyford-Moore, former director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, has written a weird, garrulous, scattergram of a book about mania and the experience of life at what Saul Bellow once called the speed of intensest thought. So what is The Rapids? …

Books July 28, 2018

Griffith Review 61: Who We Are

The new issue of Griffith Review is about the perennially newsworthy subjects of immigration and multiculturalism, and the lead essay by James Button and Abul Rizvi is essential reading. It offers a concise but clear-eyed account of our nearly …

Books July 07, 2018

The Art of Taxidermy

Sharon Kernot’s fourth book contains many sweet, darkly beguiling set pieces, which evoke in their way a sense of the beauty that can be seen in nearly anything living or dead. In the opening pages we meet two girls about 11 years old. One of them …

Books June 09, 2018


Traumata is about many things. It’s about a dimly recalled sexual assault by a paedophile neighbour. It’s about an absent father, an abusive stepfather and a neglectful mother with what sounds like borderline personality disorder. It’s …

Books April 28, 2018

A Stolen Season

Australia’s contribution to the Second Gulf War has not proved a fertile subject for literary fiction. Of the 75 books nominated for the Miles Franklin Award since 2003 there’s almost nothing about Iraq, Saddam Hussein or weapons of mass destruction. There …

Books April 21, 2018

The Death of Noah Glass

Australian novelist Gail Jones is no great spinner of yarns or master of mood and atmosphere, but she does have a unique feeling for the fascinations of the fragmentary. Her books brim with literary allusions, historical anecdotes, references to scholarly …

Books April 14, 2018

False Claims of Colonial Thieves

In her poem “Simply Yarning”, Charmaine Papertalk Green writes: Yarning is a beautiful conversation / From that moment / That space / That time / Yarning puts us on common ground. Her co-author John Kinsella responds warmly with his own hymn to …

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 …