Rain Stones by Jackie French

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25th Anniversary Edition. Harper Collins Publishers, 2016 (First published in 1991). ISBN 9781460753170
(Age: 9 - adult) Highly recommended. Themes: Short Stories; Australian stories; Vision and Blindness; Aboriginal traditions; Mythology; Ecology. Jackie French is a prolific story weaver with every one of her books a testament to her great skill with words; Rain Stones is where she started as a published author. These stories have not lost any of their power and intrigue with age. And as a collection of short stories it stands as a great reminder of the craft of the short story - leaving the reader wishing they could follow the next chapter in the life of the characters or see the next twist in the plot. I loved each of the stories, all connected with the thread of the Australian landscape, but I especially loved the Afterword where Jackie French reveals the genesis of this book and her career. She is the Australian J. K Rowling in that she began her writing career to stave off poverty and to enable her to provide for her child as a single mother. But we also see how a true storyteller can overcome difficulties and create a masterpiece with meagre ingredients, but with great passion. It's a pity I am not a movie maker, because Jackie's story and her Rain stones stories would make a wonderful Aussie film. This is also a book to share with children who battle with learning issues or have come from difficult circumstances, as Jackie French proves that from these seeds can grow opportunities. And learning to see 'story' in the dreams and environment around all of us is part of Jackie's story for aspiring writers. She has had 140 books published, and I have read many of them . . . . there is not a single story that would disappoint! (And to think that her first manuscript created on her type-writer from the tip (without the e-key) was so disgustingly presented that the publishers laughed at its presentation . . . . and yet the story won them over, as it will for you.)
Highly recommended for aged 9 - adult, and lovers of Short Story.
Carolyn Hull