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Shortlisted for the Orange Award for New Writers 2010.
The dramatically described landscapes in this novel set the backdrop for this tale of the dysfunctional relationship between a father and son. Encompassing themes of war and racial tensions as well as family dramas this is a subtly told story that will stay with the reader long after the last page.
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.
Set in eastern Australia with its dark trees and blinding light, where the land is old but its wounds are still wet, this beautifully realized debut tells a story of fathers and sons, their wars and the things they will never know about each other. It is about the things men cannot say out loud and the taut silence that fills up the empty space.
Publication date: 02/01/2010
|Publication date:||2nd January 2010|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Evie Wyld is a young Australian bookseller, living in London. Her work has been published in Granta and in other literary magazines. She regularly visits Australia to see her family. AFTER THE FIRE, A STILL SMALL VOICE is her first novel, and was published to international acclaim in 2009. She is currently working on her second.More About Evie Wyld