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Dark Roots

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  301 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
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With a sharp and unerring eye for detail and a gift for magnifying the single
moment that awakens realizations and changes lives, Kennedy's stories are
like powerful small punches -- artful, compact reminders of the big and
little "bads" we witness. Chance encounters, a stroke of good luck, a few words unspoken -- or spoken too fre
ebook, 0 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc. (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 647)
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Helen Hagemann
Aug 12, 2012 Helen Hagemann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
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
Tamika Kate
Jun 19, 2015 Tamika Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kennedy's ability to capture the harsh emotions of people on the precipice of life-changing ordeals, drastic decisions or rooted into an unhealthy situation, captivated me throughout the collection of stories. Opening with "what thou and I did, till we loved," I was immediately drawn into her simple yet enthralling style of writing. The reality of life, having to cope with the everyday mundane after tragedy is something that kennedy shows to be the real hardship that one faces. While there is sa ...more
Aug 10, 2008 Pam rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Once more I’ve been pushed to think about the criteria I might have for the perfect short story. I think it runs something like this:
- The story is complete in itself but hints at a much larger story behind. The reader has tantalising glimpses of this – like an iceberg.
- There is an element of surprise, often in the ending
- The ending is either slightly confounding or it “feels right” in its sense of completion
- The voice is clear, sustained, strong
- You are left wanting more!

Here’s what Cate Ke
Nancy Freund
Apr 04, 2015 Nancy Freund rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 10, 2012 Robyn Mundy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sally Embury-thomas
What a lovely surprising find this book was. I needed to replace the book of Annie Proulx short stories for my year 12 literature class full of Jehovah's Witnesses. Didn't think they'd appreciate Brokeback mountain. Most of these stories are a delightful read. Only a few are a bit dense ("The correct names for things"). Most of them are just a few pages long with a clever twist at the end. A couple of them made me think about the similarities with my own life ("a pitch too high for the human ear ...more
Apr 05, 2016 vivien rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed a handful of these stories and skimmed some of them. All in all i liked the collection as a whole. I liked the running theme of 'people at tipping points in their lives - moments that find them poised between' the familiar and unfamiliar. That concept was kept throughout the stories, some more prominent than others.

My favourite short stories would have to be:
- The Testosterone Club (hilarious and morbid, but the revenge was oh so deserved)
- Dark Roots (interesting, views of society,
Tessa Binetti
Out of five...I give it two. Why?
Well the two good things about this collection of short stories was (1) as it is my first time at short stories, I found it quick paced, easy to stop and start. And (2) such a pretty cover.
But alas three stars missing. Why?
(1) the stories themselves were either about death, divorce or deception [lies]! (2) the stories I found were directed toward a female audience, always portraying the male characters as bad and unfeeling (except that one story about the jewell
Nikita Watt
Jun 16, 2014 Nikita Watt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Damien Evans
After seeing Cate Kennedy read a short story of hers at the writers festival I figured I needed to read a book of hers. Some of these short stories were really good while others I just didn't connect with. She does write very well though.
Oct 01, 2015 Alice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really fabulous collection of shorts that seriously have everything you want from a good story in a short number of pages.
Ann Douglas
Feb 27, 2011 Ann Douglas rated it really liked it
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
Jun 30, 2008 Krassi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 24, 2014 Sourav rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of excellent stories separated by few average stories. Interesting read. Testesteron club and dark root was excellent.
Nov 12, 2012 Taryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 07, 2010 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jan 11, 2010 Romy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.)
Jul 22, 2008 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 15, 2014 Molly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cate Kennedy has a voice worth listening to
Dec 08, 2013 Bev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 04, 2009 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 26, 2011 Rosemary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 24, 2013 S'hi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australia, literary
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.
Jun 18, 2008 Ami rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 29, 2008 Lily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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