Stephen Orr

Despite the detailed excavatory art of the finest biographies, sometimes it takes the alchemical power of fiction to approximate the emotional geography of a single human and his or her milieu. Stephen Orr’s seventh novel, a compelling and at times distressing portrait of a twentieth-century Australian painter and his family ...

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From the Herbig family who lived in a hollowed out tree trunk to Dr Bosisto’s ‘Syrup of Red Gum’, from the trauma and regeneration of bushfires to the ill-fated Burnside Village tree, the Tree of Knowledge, and the ‘dig tree’ - how can we understand Australia’s complex relationship with the eucalypt? The

‘Ambassadors from Another Time’ by Stephen Orr

Stephen Orr
Thursday, 28 September 2017

First, I need to visit Dean Nicolle’s eucalypt arboretum. Four hundred rows of trees, four specimens of each species of Eucalyptus, Corymbia, and Angophora (the eucalypts) nestled together, sharing pollen and landscape, dropping limbs in the grass. Each group of trees is a result of the previous year’s fieldwork. The year ...

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Catherine Noske reviews 'Datsunland' by Stephen Orr

Catherine Noske
Monday, 29 May 2017

Datsunland, a collection of short stories and the latest from Stephen Orr, is in many ways flawed. The collection is uneven: the final (titular) work is a novella previously published in a 2016 issue of Griffith Review, which overwhelms the earlier, shorter stories, exhibiting the depth and nuance which several others lack. The narratives and chara ...

News from the Editor's desk - April 2017

Australian Book Review
Thursday, 23 March 2017

Fellowships galore

Elisabeth Holdsworth photograph by Antonio Mendes Macmillan 250

Josephine Taylor reviews 'The Hands' by Stephen Orr

Josephine Taylor
Friday, 27 November 2015

The Wilkie family has farmed cattle at the edge of the desert for 130 years. When catastrophe strikes, three generations of men must wrestle with secrets from the past and the present. The decision whether or not to continue on a failing station becomes critical; definitive action no less testing.

The subtitle juxtaposes elegy and irony: though some characte ...

Anthony Lynch reviews 'Dissonance' by Stephen Orr

Anthony Lynch
Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Percy Grainger has been the subject of a number of books (most notably a 1976 biography by John Bird), a play (A Whip Around for Percy Grainger, 1982) by Thérèse Radic, and a feature film, Passion (1999), by Peter Duncan. He was an avid letter-writer, and his correspondence has been anthologised and critiqued. Thanks to his eccentric way of life and sometimes erratic behavio ...