The Rain Heron
**SHORTLISTED FOR THE MILES FRANKLIN LITERARY AWARD 2021**
‘Astonishing… With the intensity of a perfect balance between the mythic and the real, The Rain Heron keeps turning and twisting, taking you to unexpected places. A deeply emotional and satisfying read. Beautifully written.’ Jeff VanderMeer, author of Borne
Ren lives alone on the remote frontier of a country devastated by a coup. High on the forested slopes, she survives by hunting and trading – and forgetting. But when a young soldier comes to the mountains in search of a legendary creature, Ren is inexorably drawn into an impossible mission. As their lives entwine, unravel and erupt – as myth merges with reality – both Ren and the soldier are forced to confront what they regret, what they love, and what they fear.
A vibrant homage to the natural world, bursting with beautiful landscapes and memorable characters, The Rain Heron is a beautifully told eco-fable about our fragile and dysfunctional relationships with the planet and with each other, the havoc we wreak and the price we pay.
‘I was transfixed’ Catherine Lacey, author of Pew
‘Fantastic’ Kawai Strong Washburn, author of Sharks in the Time of Saviours
A quietly unsettling fable... Arnott writes vibrantly about the harsh wonder of nature, his vivid characters becoming almost animal themselves. * Observer * A story of survival, an ecological thriller weighted with a mythological perspective, and a dystopian adventure...This is a novel that beautifully captures people at war with themselves, with each other, with nature-and it's a taut, tense thriller at the same time...It is the perfect book to read now. It brings us closer and it steadies the world just a little. * Readings * A strange and curious book...The craft is extraordinary. * The Bookshelf, Radio National * A searing exploration of the entanglement of internal and external nature, and the human mind's unconscious pull towards dominating [nature]...Arnott is brilliant at writing the natural world. * Kill Your Darlings * Arnott weaves a narrative that feels both timely and timelessly engaging. A powerful meditation on human greed and frailty, The Rain Heron also leaves room for redemption. This bracing follow-up to Flames will reinforce Arnott's reputation for unusual, risk-taking literary fiction. * Laura Elizabeth Woollett, Australian Book Review * Arnott's vision coalesces into an affecting narrative, charged with symbolism and characters who hold trauma, pain and cruelty in the same space... His is a lyrical, natural style that combines the expansiveness of a fable with fully realised detail. * Saturday Paper * The Rain Heron is literary art. Robbie Arnott has deftly crafted an audacious idea into an original, compelling work. Nothing is overdone or superfluous. * Australian * Unlike anything I have ever read. As luminescent as it is devastating, Arnott's tightly-wrought storytelling reveals the myriad harms we wreak both on our planet and on each other. It is mesmerising. * Ruth Gilligan * The Rain Heron is a beautifully told story in four parts, in which the line between reality and myth is impossible to draw... Arnott expertly navigates the fraught relationships between humans and the natural world, and paints shades of grey into moments that for a lesser writer would be purely black and white... A compelling, original read. * Elizabeth Flux, Books+Publishing * The Rain Heron is exquisite. Reading it feels like hearing a legend from our past, from our near future; like remembering something you had always known but somehow forgotten. It is both fantastical and deeply true. * Jane Rawson * With its emotional power and rich symbolism, The Rain Heron is an immersion in landscape, climate and an animal world that lives despite us, not for us. * Jock Serong * Robbie Arnott is singlehandedly reinventing Australian literature. The Rain Heron is a soaring feat of the imagination. * Bram Presser * The Rain Heron is an intoxicating fable from an extraordinary imagination. Robbie Arnott writes like the words want to be his. * Anna Spargo-Ryan * A book full of heart - it's so richly imagined, inventive and beautifully written, with a strong message, but is never didactic. It's like nothing I've read. * J. P. Pomare * Robbie Arnott imagines a thoroughly strange, inky-dark land of the near future. Sharp and original, The Rain Heron is a beautiful novel about love, violence and redemption. * Laura Elvery * The Rain Heron is genuinely and completely magnificent - a magical thing. * Robert Lukins *
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