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Her money, her baby allowance, already gone into their joint account. Here, the narrator and his wife Claire used to get on like the proverbial house on fire, until a back injury renders the former useless for months.

You read on to find out whether characters lash out, break away, make a connection, or simply sound out that which is unsaid. 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.

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Paperback , pages. Published October 1st by Scribe Publications first published September 26th To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Like a House on Fire , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Apr 02, Denise rated it really liked it.

In one respect, this was a very easy book to read. Her characters and their everyday lives are real and recognisable. Quite frankly, I am in awe of her talents — she is a master of the craft. Loss of love, life, youth, health, innocence, dreams. Lack of love, money, resources, security, stability. Some passages actually made me laugh out loud. Stuff this for a joke. With one exception, all the stories engaged me from beginning to end. I rarely read short stories, but Like a House on Fire has sparked off an interest in this genre.

And I hope she wins the Stella Prize! Jul 09, Nancy rated it liked it Shelves: Low return on 'reading investment' Here are my comments about the 5 best stories: Aug 04, Louise rated it it was amazing. A masterful collection depicting moments of Australian life. I'm in awe of the richness and complexity Cate Kennedy manages to create in each short story.

My personal favourite was 'Ashes'.


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Feb 10, Sonia rated it it was ok Shelves: This was originally posted at my blog www. It was difficult to write about this collection because what do I know? I huffed and puffed over this being included. It was the wrong book for the wrong prize. I cannot comment on the remainder of the list.


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  • like a house on fire.
  • Something pulling at my sleeve tells me I should read some of the others on the long list to truly understand why they have been included. All of the stories, except three, were previously published in literary magazines or anthologies. The cover of this collection gives us a hint on what to expect within the pages.

    There are scatterings of socks, vases, cups of coffees, a broken plate and a glass of wine. So yes, you will get a dose of reality in these stories. Kennedy does realism well, in other stories, but only sometimes in this collection.

    Like a House on Fire

    Many stories reveal the unfortunate lives of many characters, but several stories end with a sliver of hope, a crack in the drawn curtains, where the light comes in. But there is a moment before the story ends where she sees him for the vulnerable human that he is. The mundane of life is successfully portrayed in this story, as Chris witnesses the stereotypical behaviour of her children without her encouragement.

    I have often witnessed it in my own house: Where have they absorbed all this from, this nasty flotsam leaking in like battery acid? Right from the first paragraph, we are aware this is a facade, showing stiff smiles and getting physically too close to each other for the sake of the photo. This was delicious to read.

    get on like a house on fire

    The stone in my stomach was squeezing and pressing, sending a taste up into my mouth. Like when you have an Easter egg and the foil gets bitten onto one of your fillings. View all 3 comments. Jan 11, Evrim rated it it was amazing. 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'! May 09, B. Kyle rated it it was ok Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 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 placed upon married couples to have children, so much so that it is very common for couples to conceive their first child through IVF, and then conceive their second child naturally. It is a proven fact that the more pressure and strain a woman places on her body to become pregnant, the more likely it will just not happen. The narrative has implied, but never outright stated, that this couple in this story could possibly fall into a low-income category, and in that case, the woman could apply for Centrelink benefits.

    Now, the husband could earn just that little bit too much for them to qualify for those benefits. This leads to the situation of earning too much to apply for welfare but not earning enough to get by, which is unfortunately very common. However, these options are not mentioned or spoken of at all. Research says that about 1 in 10 working mothers feel guilty about having their child in care, so it is a common problem many women have to deal with. An issue with day-care in Australia is that many day-care centres are being shut down due to many new regulations, and day-care owners would rather sell then have to deal with all the red tape and fee increases.

    So that leads to limited access and child placement of day-care centres, Day-care is very expensive. So expensive that it is sometimes the reason why women are forced to stay at home. There is not much point paying for day-care, when you do not earn enough to make it worthwhile. None of these factors are mentioned or acknowledged as potential problems.

    Like a House on Fire by Cate Kennedy

    The implication that women who do not breast-feed, regardless of their possibly legitimate reasons, are terrible mothers. That was very uncomfortable to read. That does not make you better mother. It would have been a much more legitimate source of conflict. The fact that she was away for 18 months and just slotted back in proves to me that this is not a career, it is a menial low-paying job, and there is a very big difference between those two. The fact that she does not have a job title is confusing.

    like a house on fire

    So much going on in the meaning. Like a House on Fire By: Cate Kennedy Narrated by: Give as a gift. People who bought this also bought Anna Ziegler Narrated by: Robyn Davidson Narrated by: Emily St John Mandel Narrated by: Christine Piper Narrated by: The Golden Age By: Joan London Narrated by: The White Tiger By: Aravind Adiga Narrated by: Arthur Miller Narrated by: Mary Shelley Narrated by: Judith Anderson, Anthony Quayle Length: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Narrated by: Maxine Beneba Clarke Narrated by: Maxine Beneba Clarke Length: I Am Malala By: Malala Yousafzai Narrated by: Archie Panjabi, Malala Yousafzai Length: The World Beneath By: Joseph Conrad Narrated by: Hannah Kent Narrated by: Of Mice and Men By: John Steinbeck Narrated by: Publisher's Summary From prize-winning short-story writer Cate Kennedy comes a new collection to rival her highly acclaimed Dark Roots.

    Critic Reviews "Cate Kennedy's anger is a cleansing fire. Her stories ache with small mercies - tender, life-affirming, real. More from the same Author The World Beneath. What members say Average Customer Ratings Overall.

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