Time's Long Ruin
Biography:Stephen Orr is a teacher and freelance literary reviewer and columnist. He has worked as a writer-in-residence at secondary schools; given workshops on fictionwriting; judged writing awards; and was on the board of the SA Writers’ Centre 2004-2006. In January 2009, he completed a Varuna Longlines residency where
he worked on his forthcoming novel God’s Hill Road.
Stephen’s first novel, Attempts to Draw Jesus (Allen & Unwin) was a runner-up in the 2000 Australian/Vogel Award. His second novel Hill of Grace was published by Wakefield Press in 2004. Time’s Long Ruin is Stephen’s third novel, and has been shortlisted for the South East Asia and Pacific Best Book Award in the 2011 Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Stephen lives with his family in Adelaide.
Synopsis:On the morning of 26 January 1966, in a small house on a corner block on Harding Street, Somerton Park, in Adelaide’s south-west, nine-year-old Jane Beaumont asked her mother if she, and her brother and sister, could go to the beach. Nancy Beaumont told her daughter she was too busy to take them so Jane convinced Nancy to trust her to take them alone.
So begins a story that has seeped its way into Australia’s consciousness. Time’s Long Ruin is a novel based loosely on the disappearance of the Beaumont children. Henry Page is a solitary nine-year-old spending his summer holidays reading, roaming the melting streets of his suburb, playing with his best friend Janice, and her younger brother and sister. Until one day Janice asks him to spend the day at the beach with them. He declines a decision that will stay with him forever.
The mystery surrounding the Beaumont children is a story of love and loss, of a seemingly simple suburban perfection that was destroyed in a few hours. It is a story of loving parents whose lives were changed by a simple twist of fate. It’s a story, a sequence of images, that’s familiar to us all: long hot summer days, children playing under a sprinkler, a postman riding his bike along a hot, concrete footpath. And finally, it’s a story of an unspoken trust between friends and neighbours that was about to be lost.