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Back Burning

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Sylvia Petter is a cartographer of dislocated lives. With compassionate precision, she charts the detours, the disruptive incursions of passion, loneliness and loss, the ever-shifting conceptions of home and of the self. Her characters are always on the move through complicated terrain, and the journey is richly rewarding for the reader. - Janette Turner Hospital In simple, direct and compelling language, the stories reward the reader with a variety of distinct and memorable experiences: from the complexities of love (and unfaithfulness) to those of history and the way it treats, mistreats and selects its victims, building its ironies on the accidents of race, nationality, personality, place and parentage. With its broad geographical span and array of venues, this book would make a fine companion for a journey. Not only does it entertain; it makes you think, it makes you feel, it makes you appreciate the humanity of its many characters. -Thomas E. Kennedy, Advisory Editor, The Literary Review Sylvia Petter's second collection is storytelling at its best. Each story presents a mini-world complete in itself-with real-to-life characters, heart-aching situations, and "visions of wings." Petter takes the reader for a fast moving, eclectic tour around Europe, and back and forth to Australia. Crossing cultures with every page, and shifting between generations, Petter slowly builds a world of human goodness and trust in the midst of shadows. The reader is won over by Petter's sharp wit, polished craft and honesty. Bravo for this tour de force. - Susan M. Tiberghien, author of One Year to a Writing Life

144 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2007

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About the author

Sylvia Petter

22 books18 followers
Writer of short and long, serious, sexy and fun. Australian in Austria, but all over the place in the space of a mind.

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Profile Image for Simone.
112 reviews16 followers
April 3, 2012
I quite enjoy short stories, but I haven't found very many in the Australian fiction genre. In saying that, not all the stories in this book are set in Australia - but many of them are at least linked to it in some way.

Most of the stories within the collection are quite short (only a couple of pages) which I didn't mind. I think it is a real skill when a writer can construct something powerful using few words. So in that sense it was an easy book to pick up and put down, reading a story or two here and there without feeling like you'd lost the thread.

The stories deal with the usual kinds of themes - love, loss, loneliness, travel etc. The language used is clear and concise and the writing is tight, getting to the point without a lot of preamble. Some were sad but many were uplifting. The author really has a great knack of depicting human emotions and the way they affect people in different ways.

Overall a very well written, enjoyable book well worthy of a place in the short story genre.
Profile Image for Sarah.
227 reviews47 followers
May 31, 2013
I won this book of short stories from a first reads giveaway on goodreads.

Most of the stories in this book are very well written and get to the point quickly. The underlying themes are about love, travel, loss, etc and they are easy to read an only last a few pages each. Most of the stories make you think. I did enjoy most of the stories in this book, but there are some that I didn't like either, which is understandable as not all short stories can hit a nerve with everybody.

She writes the stories well and with so much emotion within them, it takes a lot of skill to be able to do that. If you like well written short stories then this is the book for you.
Profile Image for Christel.
86 reviews6 followers
July 18, 2013
Well-written stories, each with a clear theme and each with a very different flavor as characters of various ages come from all backgrounds and nationalities and have us visiting various countries in various time periods. Not all stories are happy endings, but in each there is some resolution that makes each rewarding in it's own way. The author's life was well-travelled, and her experiences help enrich her stories. I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to review this.
Profile Image for Padraic Rafter.
10 reviews
June 10, 2013
Have to say first that I won this on Goodreads, which I love because it is usually one I would not pick up myself as was the case with Back Burning. As with most collections of short story's I found it to be hit and miss, I think the story's I did enjoy were almost too short for my taste. It is a odd mix of Australian and European story's with a nice little history thrown in for good measure.
Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews

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