John Kinsella's highly regarded books of poetry include Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems and Jam Tree Gully. He is also the author of numerous plays and collections of short stories and essays. He taught at Kenyon College in Ohio and now is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University, and a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. He lives at Jam Tree Gully in Western Australia.
"The chief strength of this large group of 33 `glimpses' in
Shady Tree is the direct writing style, a frankness driven
by Kinsella's complicated sense of purpose.... The book is a story
collage that evokes the range of loneliness and togetherness of the
region's people.... Powerful."
"The stories are full of secrets, both open and closed, and they are fascinated with how they operate in this kind of (rural Australian) society. This leads to a mood which is sometimes gothic and something more emaciated, like the hungry banality that is so unnerving in the work of Raymond Carver.... (The) cumulative effect is highly satisfying and affecting. It is yet another crucial work by this important Australian author."
"John Kinsella can see into the heart of the country, and the evidence of these taut, complex stories is that what he sees there is both ferocious and unresolved."
"Unusual fiction in a strange place of extremes.... These stories read like slices of life, each with real place names. Yet the stories' endings are fictionally important, meaningful or mysterious, always unexpected.... (An) extraordinary collection."
"In the tradition of the long line of small-town serials, dating back through Sherwood Anderson and William Faulkner, most of the stories in In the Shade of the Shady Tree explore the dysfunctional undercurrents that characterize rural life in literature."