Heaven’s Net is Wide: Tales of the Otori, Book Five
Hachette Livre, $39.95 hb, 641 pp
There has been talk recently about the loss of regionalism in Australian literature and culture, and about the decline of Australian literature generally, but these two novels suggest that not only is Australian fiction flourishing but it is finding new ways to engage with the cultures of the region. They represent innovative interactions between Australia and Asia, for a popular audience.
Lian Hearn’s Heaven’s Net Is Wide is the fifth book in the Tales of the Otori series. It is a prequel, bringing the narrative full circle by telling of the upbringing of Shigeru Otori, the inheritor of an embattled clan who must face a cruel and despotic opponent as well as treachery among his family and friends. The novel, which will appeal to fans of the series, fully develops the background to the main trilogy and is deeply woven into the broader narrative.