After the Fire, A Still Small Voice Paperback – 22 Apr 2010
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"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 if the finest storytellers working today. On this evidence, Wyld can match them both" (Stephanie Cross Daily Mail)
"Wyld sympathetically explores the blight of war and violence on three generations of a working-class Australian family" (Gabriel Byng New Statesman)
"Wyld's first novel is a remarkable achievement: a potent and compelling exploration of the connections between father and son, and the legacy of violence and repression" (bookmunch.wordpress.com/)
"Superb first novel" (Kate Saunders The Times)
"Wyld has a feel for beauty and for the ugliness of inherited pain" (The New Yorker)
It's not just about generations of men affected by war. It's about men everywhere. For any man who's ever felt like an emotional fence post, this is the book for you. I enjoyed it enormously. - Giles Foden
'Intense. Wyld is an absolutely brilliant prose writer. The first chapter is so acute, poetic but not self-consciously literary and all in service to the characters. A fantastically-written novel. But gripping, it works almost as a mystery. Incredibly realistic about men and the trouble they have expressing themselves. - Boyd Hilton, BBC Radio 5 Live
Splendid. There's a point where you realise if you're confident in a writer. For me it was page five. From that point on, I knew I would go anywhere with this author. The book has an incredible, quiet confidence in its own prose. It never raises its voice. I just ate it up. There were two brilliant Australian novels I read this year by Tim Winton and Steve Toltz, which got a huge amount of attention. This is equally good. A masterful piece of writing.- Joel Morris, BBC Radio 5 live --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The reason I deduct a star is because sometimes you have to really concentrate to keep up with the fast introduction of many characters at the same time and the fact that the main characters jump location frequently.
I would definitely read another book by this author though, didn't expect the connection at the end and thought the way you are left to make your own conclusions was clever rather than frustrating which can often be the case.
The first of the men we meet is Frank. Having recently given up his life in Canberra after a rather rocky relationship he has moved to his Grandparents shack by the sea in an attempt to hide away from the world which he will have to live off, though in the end the world won't remain hidden, neighbours will be friendly, and he will need money and so takes a part time job in the local marina. Franks a tough character and as we get to know him better and the story of his youth, though he is only in his twenties roughly, you gain an insight into why.
Leon is the second male character. We meet him in his youth in a town, where his family are looked down on for being immigrants, as he learns the trade of his father's cake shop which when his father is sent to fight in Korea he must take over until his father comes back. Once his father returns he is a changed man and adds additional strain to the family home leaving Leon in charge for good. Only Leon himself then gets conscripted to fight in the Vietnam War and like his father the affects of war change him forever.
This makes the book sound quite simplistic and it's not the case as Wyld throws in quite a few other plots such as a delightful romance for Leon and a wonderful tale of a little girl breaking through Frank's tough exterior. To say anymore would simply give too much away.Read more ›
The book follows two main characters and at first I had that feeling of leaning towards one of them and not caring as much about the other, but by the midpoint I was totally engrossed in both. Other reviewers have written about the book's ability to convey things that aren't spoken, and it is very good at the quiet intensity of unspoken emotion. But I was also blown away by the jungle warfare, the bar brawls, the blokes working in good honest backbreaking jobs and the shark encounter. And there's something going on with chickens too, but maybe I'm reading too much into that.
I've given the book five stars but I can't recommend it highly enough. Just brilliant.
The story is about traumatised men who bottle up their emotions and fail to communicate, and it's well told, as we alternate between rageful Frank in the present day and his father Leon growing up and going through the Vietnam War. Much of the force that drives the novel on is discovering the reasons for Frank's anger and particularly for his hatred of his father, but this is never really resolved satisfactorily. It's consistent with the characters that nothing really gets openly expressed, but it left me feeling a bit disappointed at the end.
I'd still recommend this book for the luminous prose and the deft handling of compelling themes, but just don't expect all the strands to be pulled together perfectly.
The chapters alternate between Leon and Frank. Leon is growing up around the time of the Korean war and witnesses the after effects of war on his father. Leon himself is conscripted to fight in the Vietnam war when he becomes an adult. Frank's story is told in the present day and picks his story up as he moves to his family's beach shack to recover after the breakdown of his relationship. The traumas and tensions that the men experience shape their lives and the relationships with the people around them.
There are many themes explored but those of family, particularly fatherhood, are strong and thought provoking. While the book is ostensibly very male, it's not a certainly not book reserved for the male reader. I would imagine that this book would make an excellent book club choice as there is so much to think and talk about. I wouldn't hesitate to pick up the next book by Evie Wyld and I would highly recommend After the Fire for the reader who likes modern and contemporary fiction.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A haunting, beautifully written book. The psychological damage war inflicts hovers over every character. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sa Coulthard
It was sensually evocative. I could smell, taste, see, hear and feel the lives they lived. It churned up my emotions. I loved it.Published 2 months ago
“Eucalyptus blanketed the room. He had the feeling that the trees were peering in through the windows, that they had uprooted and crept over to take a peek. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Cloggie Downunder
After The Fire has garnered many positive reviews. It must be good. But I’m afraid I just didn’t get it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by MisterHobgoblin
Great book, by a terrific young writer. Have read twice, so good.Published 6 months ago by Mrs J D Whitaker
Read this in our bookgroup and found it a fascinating book. Particularly impressed by how a woman, a very young woman was able to write so believably and effectively from a male... Read morePublished 7 months ago by eileen bower
Initially, I found this novel not as easy to get into as her All the Birds novel which I loved.
I think this was probably down to feeling less engaged with her characters and... Read more
Clever plot structure. Leaves the reader to fill in a few gaps. A gritty portrayal of a tough life.Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer