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Dark Roots. New Ed: Stories

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  246 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A collection of prize-winning stories by The New Yorker–debuted Australian that is “by turns funny, wise, and achingly sad” (Stephanie Bishop, Sydney Morning Herald). Australian Cate Kennedy delivers a mesmerizing story collection that travels to the deepest depths of the human psyche. In these sublimely sophisticated and compulsively readable tales, Kennedy opens up world
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Atlantic (first published 2006)
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Helen Hagemann
Review by Helen Hagemann
I first read one of Kennedy's short stories from Dark Roots in The New Yorker under the title of Black Ice. It was interesting to see that later on, when I purchased the book, published by Scribe, that many of the Americanisms had been revamped back into our Aussie lingo. Chickens went back to "chooks", the State Forest gully came back to just "gully" and clapboards (from the fence) returned as our familiar "palings." Nevertheless, which ever story you might read, Cold S
Aug 10, 2008 Pam rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jill
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
So I first came across Cate Kennedy's short stories in an anthology of the Modern Australian Short Stories anthologies. While these anthologies contained a whole host of brilliantly stories by fantastically talented authors, it was Kennedy's work that captured my attention and interest. After finally getting my hands on her first collection of short stories, I feel like the wait was worth it. These are stories about the darkness in life - sometimes they felt like still, perfect moments captured ...more
Nancy Freund
Cate Kennedy talks about short story writing as diving into a pool, touching something deep and true, and then surfacing with it in hand. Every one of these stories accomplishes this dive, this grabbing of intensity and truth, and this surfacing with exquisite finesse. Her writing is remarkable and an honor to read.
Robyn Mundy
The second time I've read this breathtaking collection. It occurs to me that a great advantage of reading a collection of short fiction by a single author is that the scope of stories and characters, the breadth of tone and style, intensify the cachet of each individual story.
I really liked A Pitch Too High For the Human Ear but the rest were bleugh
Nikita Watt
This collection of stories I fantastic. They hold deep meaning that is easily relatable to people from all age groups, the stories themselves range from melancholic to richly comedic. I highly recommend this anthology.
Ann Douglas
Cate Kennedy writes about the darker aspects of life: her characters wrestle with inner demons. They aren't bad people: they are ordinary people caught in bad, trying, or desperate circumstances.

As a result of Kennedy's skill as a storyteller, we find ourselves sympathizing (or at least empathizing) with characters who sometimes act in morally questionable ways.

The subject matter may be dark at times, but the writing is fun and fresh.

My only quibble: the e-book edition could use a re-edit. I s
Absolutely loved it! I have a soft spot for short stories, but it takes a particular talent to write a good one. Cate Kennedy obviously has talent to spare.

I think a story should stand alone but have a sense of context - something to indicate what led up to it and what will possibly follow it. Her characters are real, flaws, habits and all, and I liked her language and descriptions.

In fact, I enjoyed them so much, that I started re-reading some immediately after I finished the book. Hope others
I took this book for my trip to Dallas and I don't regret it. All short stories are beautifully crafted to keep you thinking long after you finish them. Cate Kennedy effortlessly shows what provokes chilling examples of violence both in adults and kids (“Cold Snap”) and makes us understand the underlying fears and anger. Many of the stories are devoted to mother-daughter relationships and relationships in general. I am impressed by Kennedy’s ability to pin-point the turning moments of couples’ l ...more
A collection of excellent stories separated by few average stories. Interesting read. Testesteron club and dark root was excellent.
A sometimes-funny, sometimes-sad, always clever collection. I came to this via a new edition thinking it was new work and at first was a bit disappointed because I was comparing it to Kennedy's brilliant & wise poetry collection from last year. Once I realised it was an older collection of short stories I began to appreciate the length & breadth of Kennedy's talent and now understand how it has developed & matured.
Dark is right! And amazing. This woman writes in the first person -- as a gay woman, as an unhappily married man, as an unhappily married woman, as a drug trafficker, as a murderer -- deftly, lucidly and with restraint. All of the lovely references to Australian culture don't hurt either. Each story takes about five minutes to read. Perfect for my wandering mind!
A brilliant collection of short stories, reminding me a little of Helen Garner's style. The short story about the dinner party is the most appealing to me as it is the most sophisticated reflection of life. Many others such as the title's namesake "Dark Roots" are a bit on the raw humanity side of life for my enjoyment but brilliantly written.
An interesting collection of Australian short stories -- the tone ties them together somewhat, and in all or most of them the theme (dark roots) is apparent. I enjoyed them, though I have to say a knowledge of Aussie slang would have definitely helped. (That said, this wasn't nearly as bad as my experience with the Yiddish Policemen's Union.)
I'm not generally a fan of short story collections but found this to be a pretty good one. I fumbled over the first few stories and found them hard to get into, but was glad I finished it as there's more good than bad in this collection. I knew nothing about the book or it's author - just grabbed it blind from Miller Library.
Cate Kennedy has a voice worth listening to
This collection of short stories shows the breadth of Cate Kennedy's talent -- varied points of view, circumstances, and moods. I've enjoyed her novels, and look forward to reading more of her writing, including poetry which she has also published in Australia. A writer to follow.
I cried out in joy and surprise at the end of 'Habit.' I love this book!


I loved almost all of it. Except that last story. I dunno. I don't do well with farm tales. :)

Grab it and read if you love short stories--or just want to be blown away time after time.
good short to read each night at bedtime. Dark roots is about woman turning 40 who has an affair with a much younger man - deliciously funny and so recognisable for the older woman! Others equally stimulating...another about an autistic child, etc.
A sharp collection of tales cutting to the core of their messages by well paced and crafted lines. The depths are drawn up into the light and given the chance to be changed by being recognised for what they are. Not comfortable tales, but revealing and empowering.
Unfortunately, Jonathan was right: these stories are wildly uneven, with the good ones being "holy shit wow that's amazing" and the not-so-good ones being "zzzzzzz."

Regardless, you have to read the first story in the collection or I will be mad at you forever.
I loved this collection of short stories by the Australian writer Cate Kennedy. She was able to develop interesting characters quickly and streamline plot lines so easily that her writing looks effortless. I look forward to reading more of her work.

But I'd just written a review, and teh internets ate it. So I am not re-writing it.

Just go read this fantastic collection of short stories. The form is difficult, but Cate Kennedy does it very well.
A great collection of short stories that reads quickly. Each story itself could easily be the begining/middle or ending of a book. I think this would also provide good fodder for a book club.
A most excellent collection of short stories, if you're in the mood for the raw, sincere, sad, and beautiful. Ms. Kennedy really has a way with words.
Cate is the Queen of short story writing not only in Australia, but internationally. I have returned to this collection time and time again.
I usually prefer a novel over short stories -- but I loved these. They cover people in all different situations and the choices we make.
Cate is a gem, I like her style and humor in this collection of short stories. Granted a few are duds but there are some that really shine.
Weak, sketch-like stories nearly all hovering around 10 pages. Glaring metaphors and a similar trickle of ennui throughout.
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