I seem to have fallen into the pattern recently of waiting several days after finishing a book to write about it. I’m not sure how that evolved or if it works or not but I definitely didn’t want to do that with this book. I finished it this afternoon and have been thinking of how to talk about it since, while it is still fresh.
For me, Evie Wyld’s debut novel is clever, flawlessly written and perfectly paced.
Set in Australia, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice is about the lives of two men, told in alternate chapters. Frank and Leon’s stories take place over different time periods but deal with similar issues.
The story opens with Frank, escaping the city for some time out and heading for a rural coastal town and the sanctuary of his grandparents deserted shack. The stunning landscape and opportunity for respite balanced against the harshness and hidden dangers of the bush are vividly portrayed.
Leon’s story is one of the effects of war; directly, in Vietnam and through his father in Korea.
Evie Wyld’s gentle writing style may lure the reader into thinking there is not a lot going on but actually the book is full of activity and raises all sorts of issues such as land rights, racism, the rights and wrongs of war and painful relationships. These subjects are effortlessly weaved into the fabric of the story and introduced in a way that invites rather than forces the reader to address them.
My favourite books tend to be those that either have a gripping plot or I find particularly moving. This book didn’t really tick either of those boxes but I still admired and appreciated it and enjoyed it very much.