After the Fire, a Still Small Voice

Evie Wyld

After the Fire, a Still Small Voice

After the breakdown of a turbulent relationship, Frank moves from Canberra to a shack on the east coast once owned by his grandparents. He wants to put his violent past and bad memories of his father behind him. In this small coastal community, he tries to reinvent himself as someone capable of regular conversation and cordial relations. He even starts to make friends, including a precocious eight year old named Sal. But it is not that easy for him to let go of the past. Leon is the child of European immigrants to Australia, living in Sydney. His father loves Australia for becoming their home when their own country turned hostile during the Second World War. His mother is not so comforted by suburban life in a cake shop. As Leon grows up in the 50s and 60s, his watches as his parents' lives are broken after his father volunteers to fight in the Korean War. Leon himself goes from working in the shop, sculpting sugar dolls for the tops of wedding cakes, to killing young men as a conscripted machine-gunner in Vietnam. In the fall out from the war, Leon thinks he might be able to make a new life with his woman, make a baby, live by the sea in a small shack. But something watches from the cold shade of the teeming bush. 4.2 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
After the Fire, a Still Small Voice

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages 304
RRP £16.99
Date of Publication August 2009
ISBN 978-0224088879
Publisher Jonathan Cape
 

After the breakdown of a turbulent relationship, Frank moves from Canberra to a shack on the east coast once owned by his grandparents. He wants to put his violent past and bad memories of his father behind him. In this small coastal community, he tries to reinvent himself as someone capable of regular conversation and cordial relations. He even starts to make friends, including a precocious eight year old named Sal. But it is not that easy for him to let go of the past. Leon is the child of European immigrants to Australia, living in Sydney. His father loves Australia for becoming their home when their own country turned hostile during the Second World War. His mother is not so comforted by suburban life in a cake shop. As Leon grows up in the 50s and 60s, his watches as his parents' lives are broken after his father volunteers to fight in the Korean War. Leon himself goes from working in the shop, sculpting sugar dolls for the tops of wedding cakes, to killing young men as a conscripted machine-gunner in Vietnam. In the fall out from the war, Leon thinks he might be able to make a new life with his woman, make a baby, live by the sea in a small shack. But something watches from the cold shade of the teeming bush.

Reviews

The Daily Mail

Stephanie Cross

Just sometimes, a book is so complete, so compelling and potent, that you are fearful of breaking its hold. This is one: a novel about (as its title might suggest) devastating damage and the humanity that, almost unfathomably, remains... With awesome skill and whiplash wit, Evie Wyld knits together past and present, with tension building all the time. In Peter Carey and Tim Winton, Australia has produced two of the finest storytellers working today. On this evidence, Wyld can match them both.

27/07/2009

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The Times

Kate Saunders

This superb first novel is about fathers and sons, and the forces that turn men brutish.

22/08/2009

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The New Yorker

Books Briefly Noted

Wyld has a feel both for beauty and for the ugliness of inherited pain. The mood is creepy—strange creatures in the sugar cane, grieving neighbors, a missing local girl—and the sentiment is plain: “Sometimes people aren’t all right and that’s just how it is.” 

07/09/2009

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The Observer

Francesca Segal

The landscape of Australia's east coast looms large in the book, wild and sinister, filled with light and tragedy. This is a sad and lovely novel from a talented new writer.

06/09/2009

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The Financial Times

Adrian Turpin

Written in pithy, crystal-sharp prose, this is a compelling read that uses the Australian landscape to mirror its characters’ equally unforgiving emotional terrain.

30/09/2009

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The Guardian

Catherine Taylor

[A] terrifically self-assured debut... It's a cauterising, cleansing tale, told with muscular writing.

29/08/2009

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The Independent

Lee Rourke

Wyld's writing is assured enough to elongate metaphor and symbolism, creating a novel both taut and otherworldly. This adroit examination of loss, lostness and trauma is the beginning of great things.

23/09/2009

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