Like a House on Fire by Cate Kennedy – Book Review


Why read short stories? I always feel like I need to be in the mood for a short story, and so rarely pick up a collection intentionally. I think because I love reading novels, I like reading things that take days or weeks rather than minutes; perhaps this is why I often ignore the short story. And then I read a book like this and think about how foolish I am to discard the short story.

Reading Cate Kennedy’s beautiful short stories is like looking through a peephole into peope’s lives. There is often no clear start or end, but it is a moment in time. Enough to see people in quite dire situations and to watch what decisions they make, and not necessarily see the full impact – Kennedy let’s the reader take it away and chew on it in their own time. I can’t get the last story out of my mind – a young girl is given the assignment of writing in a diary, and we get the innocence of a child revealing the quite awful situation that she is in, but doesn’t really understand. I worry for her.



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