JEAN HARLEY WAS HERE by Heather Taylor Johnson, UQP.
Jean Harley, wife, mother, colleague, best friend and, for her dog, owner. When she is knocked off her bicycle and run over by a van, everyone who loved her is given a voice to mourn. Including the dog. It could be twee but Australian poet Heather Taylor Johnson makes sure it isn’t, bringing a poet’s eye to this story of what happens when a beloved dies suddenly. Friendships fracture; a husband falls into hopeless grief; an accidental killer, the no-hoper driving the van, reshapes his life. The voices focus first on the fallout, then the post-shock settling, as the grieving adapt to life without Jean. Her life was no more extraordinary than anyone else’s, but it’s a pleasure to read about the life of someone special to those who loved her.