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After the Fire, A Still Small Voice

After the Fire, A Still Small Voice 1

by Evie Wyld
Paperback
Publication Date: 22/04/2010
5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
 
Frank and Leon are two men from different times, discovering that sometimes all you learn from your parents' mistakes is how to make different ones of your own.

Frank is trying to escape his troubled past by running away to his family's beach shack. As he struggles to make friends with his neighbors and their precocious young daughter, Sal, he discovers the community has fresh wounds of its own. A girl is missing, and when Sal too disappears, suspicion falls on Frank.

Decades earlier, Leon tries to hold together his family's cake shop as their suburban life crumbles in the aftermath of the Korean War. When war breaks out again, Leon must go from sculpting sugar figurines to killing young men as a conscript in the Vietnam War.
ISBN:
9780099535836
9780099535836
Category:
Contemporary fiction
Format:
Paperback
Publication Date:
22-04-2010
Publisher:
Vintage Publishing
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Pages:
304
Dimensions (mm):
198x129x19mm
Weight:
0.21kg
Evie Wyld

Evie Wyld grew up in Australia and the UK. She now runs Review, a small independent bookshop in London. Her first novel, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 she was listed as one of the Culture Show's Best New British Novelists.

She was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2013 she was listed as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. Evie's second novel, All The Birds, Singing, was published in 2013.

It was longlisted for the 2014 Stella Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and shortlisted for the Costa Novel Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. She is the winner of the 2013 Encore Award, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and the 2014 Miles Franklin Award. Her graphic novel with illustrator Joe Sumner, Everything is Teeth, was published in 2015.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • A stunning debut.

    by on

    “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. The leaves of the banana tree on the roof were a gentle tap tap tap let me in”

    After the Fire, a Still Small Voice is the first novel by prize-winning Australian author, Evie Wyld. A story that spans three generations, it is told from the perspective of Frank, who, in the present day, is fleeing behaviour he is ashamed of; and of Leon, decades earlier, forced to follow in his father’s footsteps.

    Frank arrives at Mulaburry, determined that life in his grandparents’ hut in the cane-fields will help him forget Lucy, the woman he mistreated. “The clearing was smaller than he remembered, like the cane had slunk closer to the pale wooden box hut. The banana tree stooped low over a corrugated roof”.

    Having watched the broken remains of his father, once a master baker, return from the Korean War, Leon finds himself plucked from his own baking career to land in the jungles of Vietnam.

    Wyld alternates the narratives so that the significant events of each man’s life are gradually revealed, and the reader learns how one man’s history impacts on that of the other. There are common elements to each narrative, echoes that draw the stories together: the wedding-cake figurines, the baker’s fare, the cane-fields hut.

    Wyld’s characters are real and flawed, characters for whom the reader can readily hope, be disappointed in and exult in minor triumphs. Their moods are deftly evoked: “With effort he stood up, ignored the squealed noises of the teacher, the weird electric sound of laughter, saw only that Amy Blackwell’s blue eyes watched him as he walked out of the classroom, away from the school, heavy enough that he might sink into the ground and suffocate, or else fall on the pavement and shatter into splinters”

    Wyld touches on some topical and age-old issues: domestic violence; child abduction; the devastating effect of war on the combatants’ psyche; the lack of support for Vietnam Veterans; racial discrimination. Wyld has a talent for descriptive prose and conveys her settings with consummate ease: the humidity of the Vietnamese jungle, the sounds of the Queensland cane-field, the langour of a Sydney Christmas, all are vividly heard, seen and felt. A stunning debut.