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Nine-year-old Henry Page is a club-footed, deep-thinking loner, spending his summer holidays reading, roaming the melting streets of his suburb, playing with his best friend Janice and her younger brother and sister. Then one day Janice asks Henry to spend the day at the beach with them. He declines, a decision that will stay with him forever.
Time’s Long Ruin is based loosely on the disappearance of the Beaumont children from Glenelg beach on Australia Day, 1966. It is a novel about friendship, love and loss; a story about those left behind, and how they carry on: the searching, the disappointments, the plans and dreams that are only ever put on hold.
Winner, Unpublished manuscript award, Adelaide Festival awards for literature
‘Stephen Orr is the custodian and celebrant of Adelaide’s darkest mysteries – the great unsolved Somerton Man case, hidden pedophilia, The Don’s business dealings, three children lost forever at the beach and everything that the ominous word “Snowtown” can connote. In Time’s Long Ruin he has conjured up the suburban claustrophobia of the Fifties and added to it streaks of these darker pigments. His Thomas Street, Croydon – particularly on hot days, when no one has enough to do and everyone gets on each other’s nerves – is Adelaide’s very distinctive version of Winton’s Cloudstreet, Malouf’s Edmondstone Street and White’s Sarsaparilla; but the quality and vividness of Orr’s evocation of those stultifying times ensures he can hold his head high in such illustrious company. Time’s Long Ruin is a compelling page-turner.’ – Richard Walsh
’… eloquent, unusual, bold but responsible retelling of a veritable urban nightmare that still haunts the Australian imagination.’ – Peter Pierce, the Sydney Morning Herald
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