peteg's blog - noise - books - 2021 10 25 RobbieArnott TheRainHeron

Robbie Arnott: The Rain Heron. (2020)

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Kindle. Winner of the Age book of the Year for 2021. Arnott is Tasmanian. It took me two goes to get started as the first page is just too tedious. It does pick up a bit but never drops its tendentious and slightly wonky, undercooked, fableish perspective. Basically we're on a bug hunt where able squid milker Ripley gets a twinge of the guilts and feels the need to place the Alien back on its roost after boosting it for the powers that be (or might be). The turning may have been, like Gladys, not due to any moral qualms but the dark forces of lurv. One can occasionally discern the entrails of The Lord of the Rings: that interminable trip from the mountain to the sanctuary, and to only high tail it back!

I didn't sink into it much as it is quite predictable with periodic clangers. The rain heron didn't need to be returned anywhere — it's a bird, just release it, it'll make its way home. And as I learnt in a first year computer science tutorial, "assignation" is not that closely related to "assigned" or "assignment". We are told that the lady hermit Ren is smart, but she's not; if she was, she'd've known that once the "there's no trail" trail to her abode had been discovered she needed to move on immediately, and a smart person may have prepped for that. I also couldn't get my head around how even the most offensive acts were rapidly and sincerely forgiven. It was a land very damaged by grasping cynicism and yet that cynicism was otherwhere, unshown and barely acknowledged. The squid milker accurately reflects modern politicians by mouthing moral rectitudes just after she's lost power.

James Ley. Australian cli-fi? How about that Andrew McGahan book you reviewed a year previously, hmmm? Goodreads.