Posted by: Lisa Hill | May 22, 2011

Sensational Snippets: After the Fire a Still Small Voice (2009), by Evie Wyld

After the Fire, A Still Small VoiceKim at Reading Matters was right, Evie Wyld, author of After the Fire, A Still Small Voice is an exciting new voice in fiction.

Here’s a sample:

Later he bought calamari and chips and sat on the seafront on the bonnet of the Ute.  There was no rush to get back to the shack.  A bit of a fix up on the roof was probably in order, but it hadn’t rained in months and the sky was white and high.  He’d anticipated that the place would need a bit more work, had thought it might be good for him to keep his body occupied for the first week or so.  He saw how clean his fingernails looked, holding a calamari ring.  The waves were peppered with surfers, even in the small swell. Seagulls picked through rubbish baskets, fat-throated, and eyeballed the passers-by, scratching out deep croaks now and then and dancing with their red feet.  He threw the last few chips to them and watched as they screamed and shook and picked at the food and each other.  A surfer took a wave too short and smashed himself into the sea spectacularly.  Frank smiled to see him surface, shaking the salt out of his nose and ears. (p15)

Can you see it?  So can I!

This small sample can’t convey the compelling surge of the story as it traces the anguished cry of an inarticulate man dealing with his grief…I have  only just started this book but I know I’m going to like it.

Author: Evie Wyld
Title: After the Fire A Still Small Voice
Publisher: Vintage, 2009
ISBN: 8781741668636
Source: Kingston Library

Fishpond After the Fire, A Still Small Voice


  1. I was lucky enough to review this when it came out in the US. Wyld has a fantastic voice and is a real talent.

    I enjoy your blog very much though my access to much Australian fiction is limited.


    • Hello Lauren, welcome to chatting about books at ANZ LitLovers. Thanks for dropping by:)


  2. Thanks for the link. Glad you’re enjoying this one. I thought it incredibly accomplished for a first-time author. Be very interested in seeing what she comes up with next.


    • You’ll probably hear about it before we do, Kim, since she’s resident in England now – and that is another thing that makes this such an amazing book because as Tom says below, it is soooo Australian. Like Randolph Stow being able to write books so quintessentially Australian even though he hadn’t lived here for decades.
      BTW I have an audio book of Stow’s Tourmaline to start soon – have you read that one?


      • I think she regards herself as English — but she has an Australian mother and hence lots of Australian relatives, and thereby visits Oz quite a bit.


        • Maybe she might make it to one of our writing festivals…


  3. I have seldom read a paragraph quite so Australian! I had to look up “ute” to find out what it was – ah yes, a utility vehicle. I’m reading Peter Carey’s Theft at the moment and finding it excellent – as was to be expected


    • I can’t wait for your review of Theft, Tom. I’ve had it on my TBR for ages…


  4. I agree, I thought this book was beautiful. It is very Australian, but in such a multifaceted way – seems to capture different moments and places in time equally well and with great confidence.


    • Hi Melanie, thanks for dropping by:)
      Reading on with it last night, I kept coming across passages so evocative, any one of them could have been another Sensational Snippet.


  5. You might be interested in hearing this radio programme about the book on RTE Radio 1 in Ireland:

    (It’s under the heading “IMPAC Dublin Review”)


    • Wow, they were really impressed weren’t they, and yet there was only one nomination for the IMPAC!
      Just wondering, her preoccupation with war damage – do you think that derives from her life in Australia? Or is the obsession with old wars a major preoccupation in the UK too?


      • Old wars is BIG pre-occupation here, but I know from having read enough interviews with Evie that her uncle went to Vietnam but never spoke about it, so obviously that has had some kind of influence on writing this story. You know I met Evie at a literary event last year and made a babbling fool of myself in front of her, but she was very lovely. Oh, and Sinead, who features in the RTE broadcast, is a Twitter friend of mine — and it was her that first recommended the book to me way back in 2009. I owe her one.


        • *chuckle* You are not the only one who makes a babbling fool of herself in the presence of an author!


  6. Just started reading it tonight, entirely on the basis of your recommendation.

    I’m utterly in love with it so far… What a mavellous writer!

    Thank you for this. :)


    • That’s great! I’m so glad you like it:)


  7. Lisa, you might be interested in this interview which is on the Vulpes Libris blog today:


    • That’s interesting, Kim, about the links on her blog that you can go to after you’ve read the book. My first instinct is not to want to go there! I don’t want anything to interfere with my existing thoughts about this book…
      She sounds like a lovely person, I think.


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