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After the Fire, a Still, Small Voice (2009)

by Evie Wyld

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2952278,815 (3.51)54
Following the breakdown of a turbulent relationship, Frank moves from Canberra to a shack on the east coast once owned by his grandparents. There, among the sugar cane and sand dunes, he struggles to rebuild his life. Forty years earlier, Leon is growing up in Sydney, turning out treacle tarts at his parents' bakery and flirting with one of the local girls. But when he's conscripted as a machine-gunner in Vietnam, he finds himself suddenly confronting the same experiences that haunt his war-veteran father. As these two stories weave around each other - each narrated in a voice as tender as it is fierce - we learn what binds together Frank and Leon, and what may end up keeping them apart.… (more)
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» See also 54 mentions

English (20)  Dutch (2)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
A great book, although Wyld's second certainly improves on the formula. Its focus is a pretty buzzworthy topic at the moment - the emotional turmoil of silent men - but it throws up wider questions too. Can people change? Is closure always good, or even necessary? An easy recommendation, along with its follow-up. ( )
  alexrichman | Nov 28, 2018 |
As my two star rating reflects I thought this was "just ok". Obviously I'm in the minority, so it's more a matter of it just not being my kind of book. ( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
This was a very well written and poignant first novel by a new British writer that bites off a tad more than it can chew. After his girlfriend leaves him, Frank drives off into the Austrialian wilderness. Forty years before this, Frank's father Leon is drafted to Vietnam where he experiences a slew of dehumanizing and harrowing events. The lives of both men - told in parallel narratives - have a tragic element, not least in that the similarities between them drive them apart even further. I liked this very much - the writing really was fine - but I wish it had been a tighter, more controlled story. ( )
1 vote laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
This is not an easy book to write about or a comfortable read, but it is an impressive debut novel. The story alternates between the modern part, which follows Frank as he moves to his grandparents abandoned beach house to regroup after an abusive relationship, but gets caught up in local problems. The other part follows Frank's father Leon, first coming to terms with his own father's traumatic experiences of the Korean war and then as a conscript in Vietnam. These family stories are mixed with atmospheric descriptions of wild Australia, and the overall tone is a mixture of the reflective, the claustrophobic and the slightly menacing ( )
  bodachliath | May 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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The sun turned the narrow dirt track to dust. It rose like an orange tide from the wheels of the truck and blew in through the window to settle in Frank Collard's arm hair.
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Following the breakdown of a turbulent relationship, Frank moves from Canberra to a shack on the east coast once owned by his grandparents. There, among the sugar cane and sand dunes, he struggles to rebuild his life. Forty years earlier, Leon is growing up in Sydney, turning out treacle tarts at his parents' bakery and flirting with one of the local girls. But when he's conscripted as a machine-gunner in Vietnam, he finds himself suddenly confronting the same experiences that haunt his war-veteran father. As these two stories weave around each other - each narrated in a voice as tender as it is fierce - we learn what binds together Frank and Leon, and what may end up keeping them apart.

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