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After the Fire, A Still Small Voice Paperback – 22 Apr 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (22 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099535831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099535836
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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)

Review

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I bought this book after reading a rave review in the paper, it was I have to agree with the review a fantastic debut novel, Evie Wylde writes beautifully and gives a real insight into that part of Australia, the war and the patterns that emerge from dysfunctional family life, very interesting and different.
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.
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Format: Paperback
So rare to find a book so free of cliche, and not stitched together by a cut-and-paste stylist. Full of wonderfully original descriptions that describe sensations and emotions precisely, and as if they are yours. A tale of brilliant images bleached by the Aussie sun, with a plot fringed with dark threats that lurk in memories or wait, nameless, hidden in the corn....
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Format: Paperback
`After the Fire, A Still Small Voice' is actually the tales of two separate men told in alternating chapters living in Australia told both in the present and in the past and not always in chronological order yet never confusing. It is really hard to tell you all about it without giving anything away but do bear with me as I will try and do my best without any spoilers and yet trying to cover everything that this wonderful book does.

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.
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Format: Paperback
I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book this much. I took After the Fire on holiday with me last month and rattled through it in a couple of sittings, then had to face up to the fact that I wasn't going to read anything that good again for the rest of my time away. And probably for the rest of the year.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The highlight of this book for me is the descriptive prose. Evie Wyld has a real talent for using fresh language and images, and it shines through from the first page to the last.

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.
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Format: Paperback
There is so much in this book that in many ways it is difficult to describe without over-simplifying it. Wyld's debut is complex while still being subtle, it has depth without being heavy and the suberb quality of the writing makes it very readable. The character of Australia is prominent and Wyld describes the Australian landscape vividly and beautifully. She uses metaphor and symbolism to make this an original book that doesn't fit the mould of so many other books.

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.
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