After the Fire, A Still Small Voice

Evie Wyld

After the Fire, A Still Small Voice
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After the Fire, A Still Small Voice

Evie Wyld

The acclaimed debut novel from the 2014 Miles Franklin Award-winning author The acclaimed debut novel from the 2014 Miles Franklin Award-winning author 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.

Review

This is a beautifully realised novel about men and the scars that reach across generations.

Frank Collard is a man escaping his past, a failed relationship and his inability to control a dangerous anger. As his story unfolds, amidst the sugarcane and sand dunes of a small east-coast Queensland community, the lives of his father and grandfather are revealed. A Jewish refugee from Europe, Frank’s grandfather believes it is his duty to fight when the Korean War threatens his new homeland, but his skills as a baker ill prepare him for the horrors he will face and he returns deeply scarred and unable to father his bewildered son, Leon. In his turn, Leon is conscripted into the Vietnam War, destined to relive the horrors experienced by his father, and further unable to communicate with his own son Frank.

The stories of the three men, their wives and partners are intertwined throughout the novel, slowly and compassionately exposing the pain they experience and in turn create for their loved ones. Evie Wyld’s debut novel is a beautiful, powerful and evocative novel about Australia and the sad and destructive nature of war that reaches far beyond the battlefield.

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