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Trick of the Light

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  95 ratings  ·  19 reviews
An art teacher sends four of her students on a guerrilla mission. A young runner struggles to make sense of his best friend’s death. A health-food company adopts a farcical promotional strategy. A factory worker spends her days applying radioactive paint to watches, while dreaming of a future with her new suitor. With a keen eye for detail and rich emotional insight, Laura ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 1st 2018 by University of Queensland Press
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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  95 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Cass Moriarty
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A clever short story writer uses each story to immerse readers into a microcosm of a world until we are thoroughly engaged and our hooks have begun to curl into the characters and the setting and the plot, and then as suddenly they wrench us out again, into the open air, where we lie gasping for breath and wondering what just happened. This is exactly what Laura Elvery does again and again in her debut collection of stories, Trick of the Light (UQP 2018). While we are still recovering from one, ...more
Madeline O'Rourke
Trick of the Light: objectively, I can see the value and merit; subjectively, it just didn't compel me.

The way Elvery captures small moments, glimpses into lives, is impressive. I particularly enjoyed the variety of the stories amongst protagonists of varying ages and genders, the use of different narrative perspectives, and different countries of setting. Elvery also tackles some difficult subjects in such short stories. She deftly handles those topics and presents interesting interactions betw
Michael Livingston
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful collection - lots of powerful, memorable moments with real depth of feeling and so many rich, real characters.
Kali Napier
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aww2018
I don't read short stories often, and short story collections more rarely. I was about one-third my way through Trick of the Light before I realised I had to change my reading habits. I'd been reading each story as a 'book chapter', each life dipped into merging with the lives of the characters in the next. The moment I broke this up, interleaving a single short story with my normal fiction reading, starting the day with a story, ending the evening with a story, my satisfaction and fulfilment in ...more
Robert Lukins
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful thing. We get real characters rendered so thoughtfully. Fragments of lives and stories fully realised. A proper gem.
Angela Elizabeth
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
*This remains probably my favourite book of the year so far.

It is a shame that so few collections of short stories by debut Australian authors ever make it to press in Australia, and even fewer receive the critical attention they deserve. With Laura Elvery's Trick of the Light, UQP proves once again that they remain one of our premier publishers of literary short fiction. Elvery's writing has appeared in literary magazines around Australia, including The Big Issue Fiction Edition 2015 (Issue #49
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
A brilliant collection of powerful, fully realised short stories. Each story is utterly self contained, with a mixture of settings, genres of story, and a full cast of multi-dimensional characters from various backgrounds. Reading Trick of the Light is everything I love about short stories, and I can't wait to read more of Elvery's writing.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful collection of stories that know just how much to reveal and how much to keep to themselves.
Dasha M
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Trick of the Light, a staggering work of talent and feeling. Favourites: Pudding, What You Really Collect Is Always Yourself, Orbit, Caius Atlas. Never what you expect, always poignant and precise.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this short story collection, with 'Pudding' and 'Mountains Grow Like Tress' being some of my stand out favourites. I love books which provide a glimpse of peoples everyday life and the way in which Elvery challenges readers on themes of gender based harrasment, violence, discrimination and power imbalance was, in my opinion, well done. However I found that as soon as I became invested, the vignette would end leaving me wanting more and wondering.... what happens next.
I think think thi
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Cass’s review pretty well nails this book. Each story immersed me into a new world, like dipping my toe into rock pools at the seaside. The diverse characters were woven into a collection of wonderful stories that made me snort with laughter (Pudding), glow with delight (Brushed Bright Bones) or weep with despair (Dots and Spaces). I can’t decide which I loved best but certainly, Laura Elvery is a storyteller I’m adding to my ‘Favourite Writers’ list. I’m already looking forward to her next book ...more
Keira Edwards-Huolohan
This was a rather sombre and sad collection of stories. There were alternating light and dark aspects of the stories. Stories generally involved one tiny part of someone's life; an experience, an emotion or a craving. I felt like I was left hanging a little by them, wanting a better conclusion, or a conclusion at all.
Poppy Fitzgerald-Clark
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I’ve read this year! Every single story is charming and moving in its own way. The characters are real and interesting and it feels like peeping into a day in the life of a stranger you just passed on the street. The writing is beautiful but down to earth. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Dalian "Kuro no Yomihime"
Really nice collection of short stories, each one distinct from the others. Recommend checking it out if you're interested in getting into short stories and/or Australian authors.
My personal favorite was 'North'. idk, it felt so 'Australian' in a way. Towards the end, it almost felt like a satirical comedy sketch you'd see on the ABC. Plus, I just find PR insanely interesting.
Sally Piper
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In each of the 24 short stories in this collection, the reader's lens is drawn to "this" moment or "that" time for the character at the centre of the story, while their pasts or futures are kept tantalisingly but deliberately distant. Such restraint made this collection a joy to read.
Bear Reads Books
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Most of these stories hit the mark for engagement and writing quality. So many of them juxtapose something mundane against something shocking or exciting. Bought this on a whim from Brisbane Writers Festival, after having missed the author talk. Good find.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is such an achievement! Both ‘Dots and Spaces’ and ‘For What We Are About To Receive’ are stories that will continue to haunt me (perhaps until I write poems in response to them ❤). Highly recommended collection ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ...more
Simon Elvery
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every single one of the 24 stories is worth writing home about.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Spanning styles, time periods, and genre, each story in this collection is potent and polished. It's hard to think of a short story collection I've read that's been this consistently good.
Fiona Robertson
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Jun 23, 2018
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Laura Elvery is a writer from Brisbane. Her work has been published in The Big Issue Fiction Edition, Review of Australian Fiction, Kill Your Darlings and Griffith Review. She has won the Josephine Ulrick Prize for Literature and the Margaret River Short Story Competition, and was awarded a Griffith Review Queensland Writing Fellowship. She has been shortlisted for the Overland NUW Fair Australia, ...more