Evie Wyld - After the Fire, A Still Small Voice (2 stars)

Evie Wyld - After the Fire, A Still Small Voice

(Jonathan Cape)

After the Fire, A Still Small Voice suffers from the same problem as its title; too long and too obscure. Evie Wyld, a graduate from a creative writing Masters in London, sets her début novel in the wide open spaces of her native Australia. Here she fills the chapters with portentous metaphors that meander off the page and only tentatively suggests anything specific about her characters.

Wyld’s talent lies in using poetic language to evoke nothing in particular, for a reason she’s unwilling to unveil to the reader. This device could work by piquing our senses and delicately building into a crescendo, but somehow Wyld’s first effort falls flat on the page. It increases in pace towards the end, revealing connections between characters and adding mysteries of missing children, but by then it’s all too late. Wyld’s still, small voice needs to be a little less pretentious.

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