The Rain Heron: Book summary and reviews of The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott

The Rain Heron

by Robbie Arnott

The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott X
The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2021
    288 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A gripping novel of myth, environment, adventure, and an unlikely friendship, from an award-winning Australian author.

Ren lives alone on the remote frontier of a country devastated by a coup d'état. High on the forested slopes, she survives by hunting, farming, trading, and forgetting the contours of what was once a normal life. But her quiet stability is disrupted when an army unit, led by a young female soldier, comes to the mountains on government orders in search of a legendary creature called the rain heron―a mythical, dangerous, form-shifting bird with the ability to change the weather. Ren insists that the bird is simply a story, yet the soldier will not be deterred, forcing them both into a gruelling quest.

Spellbinding and immersive, Robbie Arnott's The Rain Heron is an astounding, mythical exploration of human resilience, female friendship, and humankind's precarious relationship to nature. As Ren and the soldier hunt for the heron, a bond between them forms, and the painful details of Ren's former life emerge―a life punctuated by loss, trauma, and a second, equally magical and dangerous creature. Slowly, Ren's and the soldier's lives entwine, unravel, and ultimately erupt in a masterfully crafted ending in which both women are forced to confront their biggest fears―and regrets.

Robbie Arnott, one of Australia's most acclaimed young novelists, sews magic into reality with a steady, confident hand. Bubbling with rare imagination and ambition, The Rain Heron is an emotionally charged and dazzling novel, one that asks timely yet eternal questions about environment, friendship, nationality, and the myths that bind us.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[V]ibrant...Though the plot doesn't always hang together, Arnott fascinates with fable-like stories and thoughtful meditations on the consequences of lessons learned too late. The beautiful imagery and magical moments carry the reader through an occasionally bumpy journey." - Publishers Weekly

"Superb descriptions of nature and weather, of human emotion and animal instinct, by Australian novelist Arnott evoke a landscape that is both startlingly immediate and mysteriously otherworldly: the perfect setting for a tense narrative of eco-disaster and fragile endurance. At once an urgent thriller and an elegiac fable, this mesmerizing tale is as lyrical as it is suspenseful." - Kirkus Reviews

"Reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's visceral The Road, an air of savage solitude infuses Arnott's lyrically atmospheric postapocalyptic novel, where trauma and resilience are connected to memory and the loss of both self and surroundings." - Booklist

"The Rain Heron is literary art. Robbie Arnott has deftly crafted an audacious idea into an original, compelling work…Arnott blends his genres impeccably. Nothing is overdone or superfluous…When the northerner, the seeker of squid ink, views a painting of the ocean, he is entranced by the quality and depth of its brightness and texture. It is 'an artwork laced with ink,' a perfect metaphor for this luminous tale." - The Australian (Australia)

"Arnott's vision coalesces into an affecting narrative, charged with symbolism and characters who hold trauma, pain and cruelty in the same space…Arnott is uncommonly adept at imbuing his work with a rich, lived-in feel, a world close to our own, filled with parallel myths and coinciding calamities. And as he did in Flames, Arnott reminds us he is one of the best prose stylists currently working in Australia…His is a lyrical, natural style that combines the expansiveness of a fable with fully realised detail. Arnott's sentences are truly a pleasure to read and the characters finely studied." - The Saturday Paper (Australia)

"In this lush and harrowing novel, Ren joins Harker, a soldier, in her search for the mythic rain heron and both are forever changed by the quest. Robbie Arnott chronicles their voyage through a harsh and wondrous landscape in gorgeous, lyric prose, while his plot moves with the swift elegance of an expertly-crafted page-turner. The Rain Heron is a potent fable that speaks urgently to our present times." - Laura van den Berg, author of I Hold A Wolf by the Ears

"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

This information about The Rain Heron shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Robbie Arnott

Robbie Arnott is the author of the novel Flames, which won the Margaret Scott Prize, was short-listed for the Victorian Premier's Literary Prize for Fiction, the Guardian Not the Booker Prize, and the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, and was long-listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. In 2019, he was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist. He lives in Tasmania.

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