Reviews

A selection of nice things critics have said about Jane Downing’s writing.

The Lost Tribe, Pandanus Books, 2005.

Cheryl Taylor in Australian Book Reviewthis sensitively written novel that varies the age-old theme of a woman’s yearning through love and children”

Lorien Kaye in The Age: “The device of dual narrative threads and the novel’s post-colonial concerns are common in contemporary fiction but Downing deploys them well”

Tony Maniaty in The Weekend Australia: “In understated and balanced prose, Downing offers a wry observation of women caught between two worlds”

Ralph Elliott in The Canberra Times: “Marianne’s search for the wreck of the Westminster and the adventures of grandmother Purcell make for rewarding reading”

Sue Gammon on ABC Wide Bay, Queensland: “Downing shows a real talent for historical writing, and her two main characters, with all their fears and faults, are beautifully developed within the story”

Paul Gillen in Overland: “It could make a diverting telemovie”

Lisette Kaleveld in API Review of Books: “a rich work, tinted with the shades of the exotic… Downing’s background as a poet is obvious in the book’s intense and vivid description”

Sally Murphy in Aussie Reviews: “a strongly woven story”

The Trickster, Pandanus Books, 2003.

Michael McGirr in Australian Book Review: “The Trickster is rich in satire, mostly of a gentle rather than a punishing kind”

Debra Adelaide in The Sydney Morning Herald: “Fairytale and myth are at the heart of this mischievous story about cultural and moral displacement… An unusual and engaging story, replete with irony”

Jack Horner in Studio: “Told in a rich comic vein reminiscent of Kylie Tennant’s disillusioning humour”

Cameron Woodhead in The Age: “an earthy, wry novel about adjusting to a very different way of life”

Dinner at Caphs: “Downing has wound together a wry and amusing tale of expatriate culture shock with accounts of Marshallese folklore and legend”

Searching for the Volcano and other Stories, four W press, 1999.

Australian Book Review: “Downing makes time stand still as she explores both internal and external terrains with equal amounts of intensity and awe”

The Daily Advertiser: “The full force of Downing’s richly descriptive prose is present in Searching for the Volcano”

The Canberra Times: “Ranging across cultures, [the stories] deal playfully, wryly and imaginatively with human follies and desires. Downing writes lucidly and with flashes of irony and allegorical whimsy”

Imago: “Searching for the Volcano brims with heightened hues and poignant disclosures”

Famous Reporter: “Jane Downing is a poet with language…the reader feels by the end of the book a similar satisfaction and fulfilment as one feels at the end of reading a hefty novel. This is a brilliant collection of short stories: entertaining, illuminating and thought-provoking”

Gleebooks gleaner:  “Give them a burl”

Ulitarra: “The stories in the recent collection Searching for the Volcano are tight, assured and finely wrought-casually ‘poetic’ rather than laboriously literary”

Elizabeth Webby: “Jane Downing’s stories are compelling and engaging; in them, one finds the familiar made strange, and the exotic made familiar”

David Gilbey: “Jane Downing writes with maturity and insight. Searching for the Volcano takes the reader around the world to continually confront the self, as much travelling does.  Entertaining, teasing, satisfying, these stories provide a fictional feast of many tantalising courses”

Short stories

Andy Kissane on 4W New Writing Issue 26, 2015

Karenlee Thompson on Lost Boy & Other Stories (Margaret River Press 2015)

Katelin Farnsworth at Writers Bloc on The Grapple Annual 2014 and Ramon Loyola with more

Claire Weigall on The Big Issue Fiction Edition 2013

Poetry

Peter Pierce on The Quadrant Book of Poetry