Reviewer: JR

By this author


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

Her

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 …

Books July 08, 2017

Being Here: The Life of Paula Modersohn-Becker

The German painter Paula Modersohn-Becker was born in Dresden in 1876 and died in 1907 at the age of 31. She sold only three canvases in her lifetime but is today recognised as an artist of remarkable originality and a crucial link between the radical …

Books June 10, 2017

This Water: Five Tales

The sad news that This Water: Five Tales will be Australian writer Beverley Farmer’s last work of fiction is announced in the first line on the back cover of the book. So it is hard not to read this collection of stories as a kind of testament …

Books May 13, 2017

The Last Garden

The opening sentence of Eva Hornung’s seventh novel, The Last Garden, encapsulates how strange and how mesmerising in her clarity her writing can be: On a mild Nebelung’s afternoon, Matthias Orion, having lived as an exclamation mark in …

Books April 08, 2017

Billy Sing

Ouyang Yu’s fifth novel is a fictionalised retelling of the life of William Edward “Billy” Sing, a Chinese-Australian soldier who achieved fame as a crack-shot sniper at Gallipoli. It’s also a dark and somewhat unhinged work, full of wild diatribes, …