... a dazzlingly visual novel ... Arnott’s book swims in a swelling stream: that of literary writers drawing on mythological techniques and indeed creating new mythologies that reimagine the human relationship with the living world around us ... It’s a powerful story, beautifully rendered ... The Rain Heron is a new story about learning to heed the old stories — but heeding them will require sacrifice, reciprocity, and humility.
The Rain Heron is an evocative and poetic ecological myth set in a post-war world of climate disaster. As such, it was never likely to offer much in the way of feel-good escapism in the middle of a pandemic, and if you have been heartened by the improvement in air quality during lockdown, reports of rewilding in urban areas or promises to make the economic recovery a green one, this book will bring back all the gnawing anxiety about what we are doing to the planet with a thump, and remind you how little time we have left to act ... This mesmerising and beautifully written tale begins with three seemingly disparate narratives ... Each narrative thread could stand as a shocking, beautiful and moral short story in its own right, but Robbie Arnott weaves them seamlessly together into a satisfying whole.
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.