Reviewer: JR

By this author

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 …

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 …