Nova Mob, 1st Sept: Perry Middlemiss on Australian Futures

Perry Middlemiss on two 2020 novels of Australian futures: Of birds and beasts!

The Animals in that Country, by Laura Jean McKay
and The Rain Heron, by Robbie Arnott


2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Literature – Winner 

2020 Aurealis Awards’ Best Science Fiction Novel – Winner 

2021 ABIA Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year – Winner 

2021 ALS Gold Medal – Short-listed 2021 Arthur C. Clarke Award – Short-listed 

2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award – Long-listed 

2021 The Kitchies’ Golden Tentacle Award – Short-listed 

2021 The Stella Prize – Short-listed 

2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction – Winner 

2020 The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction – Short-listed

“As disturbing news arrives of a pandemic sweeping the country, Jean realises this is no ordinary flu: its chief symptom is that its victims begin to understand the language of animals — first mammals, then birds and insects, too. As the flu progresses, the unstoppable voices become overwhelming, and many people begin to lose their minds, including Jean’s infected son, Lee. When he takes off with Kimberly, heading south, Jean feels the pull to follow her kin.

 “Setting off on their trail, with Sue the dingo riding shotgun, they find themselves in a stark, strange world in which the animal apocalypse has only further isolated people from other species.”

💥 💥 💥

THE RAIN HERON, by Robbie Arnott

Shortlisted, Miles Franklin Literary Award, 2021

Shortlisted, ALS Gold Medal, 2021

Shortlisted, Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year, 2021

Shortlisted, Age Book of the Year, 2021

Longlisted, Not the Booker, United Kingdom, 2020

“The Rain Heron is set in an unidentified country in which a military coup has recently occurred. The first section of the novel proper (the opening story is headed ‘Part 0’, placing it outside the main narrative structure) is told from the point of view of a woman named Ren, who has retreated into the wilderness. She lives alone in a cave on a remote mountainside, where she subsists by hunting and foraging and growing a few vegetables, occasionally venturing into the lowlands to barter with a fur trader and his son. 

 “One day she encounters some soldiers, who are searching the mountainside for the mythical rain heron. Their leader, the efficient and cunning Lieutenant Zoe Harker, questions Ren about the bird’s whereabouts, but Ren denies all knowledge…”

Topic: Nova Mob 1 Sep: Perry Middlemiss on Australian Futures
Time: Sep 1, 2021 8 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney; 7:30pm Adelaide

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