Winner of 2009 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for best work of literature by a UK or Commonwealth writer aged 35 or under
I have heard a few people rave about this book, certain that this is going to win numerous literary awards in 2010; so I thought I should get a head start on the prize lists and read it beofre all those long lists are announced.
After the Fire, A Still Small Voice is set in Australia and is split into two different narratives. The first follows Frank who moves to an old shack previously owned by his grandparents, to escape his violent relationships.
The second focuses on Leon, the child of European immigrants who sought refuge in Australia after their lives were threatened in WWII. Their new life is shattered when his father volunteers to fight in the Korean war.
This book is beautifully written and there are some evocative descriptions of the Australian landscape, but I’m afraid the plot was too gentle for me. The style reminded me of Brooklyn in that the story and prose are very simple, but the emotion is there, bubbling under the surface.
I am sure that this book will pick up some more award nominations, but it was too quiet for me. If you love gentle stories examining relationships and the sense of belonging then you’ll love this book, but I need a bit more action in my novels.
Have you read this book?