- Title: Like a House on Fire
- Author: Cate Kennedy
- ISBN: 9781922070067
- Page: 343
- Format: Paperback
From prize winning short story writer Cate Kennedy comes a new collection to rival her highly acclaimed Dark Roots In Like a House on Fire, Kennedy once again takes ordinary lives and dissects their ironies, injustices and pleasures with her humane eye and wry sense of humour In Laminex and Mirrors , a young woman working as a cleaner in a hospital helps an elderly patiFrom prize winning short story writer Cate Kennedy comes a new collection to rival her highly acclaimed Dark Roots In Like a House on Fire, Kennedy once again takes ordinary lives and dissects their ironies, injustices and pleasures with her humane eye and wry sense of humour In Laminex and Mirrors , a young woman working as a cleaner in a hospital helps an elderly patient defy doctor s orders In Cross Country , a jilted lover manages to misinterpret her ex s new life And in Ashes , a son accompanies his mother on a journey to scatter his father s remains, while lifelong resentments simmer in the background Cate Kennedy s poignant short stories find the beauty and tragedy in illness and mortality, life and love.
Recent Comments "Like a House on Fire"
Cate Kennedy’s The World Beneath (2009) is one of my favourite Australian novels, so I was eager to read her latest volume of short stories – Like a House on Fire – recently shortlisted for the inaugural Stella Prize. In one respect, this was a very easy book to read. The stories are simply structured, clear and well paced, with enough detail to draw you into the world of the story but not too much that you’re bogged down in dense description. Kennedy’s images are drawn with pinpoint p [...]
This was originally posted at my blog ifnotread.wordpressI enjoy reading short story collections. I also liked Kennedy’s previous collection, Dark Roots and her debut novel The World Beneath (you know where this is going, don’t you?) but I found Like A House On Fire very inconsistent. It was difficult to write about this collection because what do I know? I’m just another reader (I’m not a writer) saying that a well-respected Australian author who is renowned for her great short stories, [...]
This book is full of such good short stories As I kept on reading, I had this growing sense - 'what if I had missed this book'!
Themes Present in Like A House On Fire:Inverse Law of Fertility - “Five-Dollar Family” involves the main character getting accidentally pregnant to a dead-beat boyfriend while “Waiting” and “Static” involve main characters trying to get pregnant and being unable to. The problem with this trope is that it rarely applies to real life, because if it did, the solution and treatment for infertility in Real Life would simply be reverse psychology.In Australia, so much peer pressure is plac [...]
That last story got me
One of the first books assigned to me in school that I've actually enjoyed. Loved the last story so much.
Three and a half starsAfter reading Cate Kennedy’s poetry collection The Taste of River Water, which I loved, I was looking forward to reading Like a House on Fire, even though I rarely read books of short stories. Cate Kennedy has the ability to evoke a mood and a picture of characters at various points of life.The first story Flexion concerns Frank Slovak a taciturn man of the land. In a few brushstrokes we get a glimpse of this man and his wife and the life the two lead. It is a simply told [...]
Like a House on Fire brings together 15 short but powerful stories, many of them set in rural Australia, and all of them about ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances.There's Frank, paralysed after a tractor accident, who resents his wife running his farm without him (Flexion); Rebecca, who spends her sick leave cyberstalking an old lover only to discover she's got the wrong man (Cross-Country); and the pregnant woman dreading her next ultrasound because one time her doctor told [...]
Cate Kennedy is an author based in rural Victoria who has written across many forms – short stories, a novel, a travel memoir and several collections of poetry. Her second short story collection, Like a House on Fire, was recently published by Scribe. In the tradition of great short story writers like Alice Munro and Raymond Carver, Cate Kennedy’s stories depict quiet yet revolutionary moments in ordinary people’s lives – drawing profound meaning from everyday events. Listen to Grace's i [...]
Absolutely loved each morsel of this collection of short stories. Each one pulls the reader into a world of its own. Such gripping stories and well drawn characters. Some left me breathless from the journey travelled in so few pages!
Short story collections are slightly frustrating. Just when you're interested by a story, it ends. I read some of the voices as somewhat inauthentic, but there are some masterful moments here. Mostly easy to read.
Maybe I am just no longer in the mood for short stories, because I think these are well written, but I had a hard time connecting with them.
I enjoyed dipping into these short stories. A lovely book.
This book is a very ugly shade of beige, the only story that remotely stood out to me was the Laminex and Mirrors and Seventy-Two Derwents, and *GASP* they were two short stories that feature a remotely likable female character. This is very Australian fiction, reading it felt like you're swallowing sand, and very very White. And as a bisexual Asian American, I am fucking disappointed.If you're looking for good representation, please look elsewhere. There's a gay man in Ashes, but external and i [...]
"Cross-country" was a stand-out in this otherwise underwhelming, repetitive and often bland effort. Has a careful eye for domestic detail (often to no real effect); the most creative moment comes with an experimentation with a single second person narrative which, unfortunately, achieves absolutely nothing.Almost every tale ends on what is presumably intended to be an ambiguous, 'isn't life complex?' note, sometimes to hilariously unrealistic effect.Kennedy set herself a high bar here - to demon [...]
*3.5*Such a hit or miss collection of short stories. They ranged from being brilliant and captivating (cross country, cake, seventy-two derwents) to just plain dull and seemingly with little purpose or impact (sleepers, little plastic shipwreck), with the rest just passing as plain mediocre.Overall, most of these stories were easy to read and somewhat enjoyable, I just wished that all were up to the standard of the stand out stories within this collection.
Poignant is the word for it. It's not the Hollywood-blockbuster drama of people somewhere far away, it's the significant moments of everyday people's lives. The kind of stories you might find in the lady standing in front on you in line at the supermarket, or that guy sitting at the far end of the bus. It's the extraordinary in the ordinary.
An engaging series of stories with gritty undertones. The last story, 'Seventy-Two Derwents', reminds me of Sofie Laguna's novel, 'The Eye of the Sheep'. Cumulatively, the collection of short stories are quite depressing.
Some interesting concepts but overall I felt each short story was incomplete.
Kennedy writes some of the most incredibly beautiful stories.'Seventy-Two Derwents' made we weep - the innocence of Tyler's voice and view was heartbreaking.
Great storytelling. Each story is a small slice of Australian life, warts and all.
I'll admit that I do not usually like short stories. Cate Kennedy’s Like a House on Fire was an exception.Like a House on Fire revolves around issues of loss whether it’s loss of a family member, loss of your old life, loss of your health or loss of your partner. Kennedy explores the human emotions behind this loss and I found the descriptions to be very real and very raw. Anyone who has ever experienced a death in their family, a debilitating illness, the trauma of going back to work after [...]
Like a House on Fire.Cate Kennedy.Cath Kennedy’s book of short stories does not disappoint. It is a very easy read, I love her perceptive portrayal of every day life. One can relate to the characters and the events and the ordinary everyday situations. However it is also a difficult book because Kennedy burrows beneath the surface of the ordinary and somehow turns the corkscrew of discomfort just a little to make one feel most poignantly , life’s pain and sadness.I don’t read a lot of shor [...]
So, Cate Kennedy novelist, poet, short story author. This is my first encounter with her; ironically not the one I was looking forward to, but what can you do when you travel all the way to Australia only to find that it takes longer there to order a book by a local author than overseas? You buy the next best thing, especially if that next-best-thing has braved a train wreck in the Nullarbor to get to you (or a bookshop near you).This is a very readable collection of short stories about all sort [...]
I just love Cate Kennedy's stories. No two are the same. Her voice and style change to suit the story-teller, and there are plenty. Kids, old men, struggling couples, it doesn't matter. She captures her people so believably that we care about them. There are many that I wish would turn up in another story, just so I can see how they're doing.There are times, you might want to shake someone 'awake', but as the story develops, you begin to sympathise with how they've become stuck where they are. L [...]
Short stories are great. When your kids refuse to get in the shower and you can't be bothered fighting them, you can just sneak off to your room and get a reading fix. Nearly all of these stories are absorbing and clever, at least one is repeated from the other short story collection (Dark Roots/Sleepers), and a couple were finished without resolution for me. I loved the story "Static," as it portrayed all the tiny overtones of strained family gatherings. And the last story is slightly terrifyin [...]
A lovely set of short stories, each written in a different style and tempo. All of the stories are about normal people experiencing life and all of it’s challenges and humour. A couple of real gut-wrenching stories where you just feel the pain of the narrator.The stories cover birth, death, unemployment, illness, loneliness, love and friendship. Many of the stories cover how easy it can be to have your whole life overturned by a single unexpected event.Easily read but left me with vivid memori [...]
These are all remarkable stories, written with great insight into ordinary people's lives. Cate Kennedy captures perfectly the conflicting feelings that people, particularly couples and parents and children, have towards each other. She writes with precision and creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and dread without ever being melodramatic. She uses the short story form to perfection to capture significant moments that evoke larger issues and ongoing lives. All these stories gave me intense read [...]
I listened to this collection on Audible, so I'm not sure whether I 'read' it in the same way, and the (3?) different readers were all slightly off-putting in their own ways.The stories themselves are poignant,sometimes bleak I'd say. Relationships are strained and awkward, no-one says what they're thinking, things are strained, stretched, and sometimes break. There is some humour here too, in the wry asides and the bitter retort out of the side of the mouth, not said, thought; but suburban life [...]
This is Cate's latest short story collection with most of the stories featured having been been published previously. I love reading short stories by dipping into them over time and that's what I did with this collection. My favourite is probably Seventy-Two Derwents told from the point of view of a child. There is such a sense of menace and tension in this story and I was entranced by the ending.
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