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Exploded View

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  279 ratings  ·  68 reviews
A dangerous man moves in with a mother and her two adolescent children. The man runs an unlicensed mechanic’s workshop at the back of their property. The girl resists the man with silence, and finally with sabotage. She fights him at the place where she believes his heart lives—in the engine of the car.

Set at the close of the 1970s and traversing thousands of kilometres of
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Text Publishing (first published 2019)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  279 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Anna Baillie-Karas
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A quiet, devastating book.

The story of a 12-yr-old girl who reads a Holden car manual obsessively (how you love books when you’re young). The clear, unadorned writing perfectly suits the narrator & lack of sentiment makes it more poignant as we slowly realise the trauma the girl faces, but cannot name. Tiffany shows the truth in spare prose: lack of protection at home, irrelevance of school & her wish for rescue by the Avon lady.

There’s also dry humour in her bluntness. This too is heart-break
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adlww2019
Exploded View is an intense literary piece, written with precision and tuned carefully for maximum emotional effect. This is the sort of novel I wouldn't be surprised to see on the Women's Prize list. Having said that, there is so much darkness in the story that it can be hard going at times, and readers should note triggers for sexual abuse, domestic violence and suicide.

Our narrator lives with her mother, brother and mechanic stepfather in 1970s suburban Australia. The novel follows the family
Michael Livingston
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short and brutal book, about a deeply dysfunctional family through the eyes of a 15 year old girl.
Lucy Treloar
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The best book written by an Australian I have read this year. Extraordinary writing and an utterly original approach to bleak subject matter.
Alice Cottrell
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a spare and intense book; a compelling depiction of a teenage girl's interior life. It took me a little while to get into the voice, but once I did I was hooked. Menacing, moving and incredibly visual.
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
A case of going in with very high expectations and not having them met. Exploded View is an interesting book, written in a style that might appeal to some readers, but that I found dislocated and frustrating.
Text Publishing
‘This tense novel, held tightly with elegant restraint, is hard to read for the best possible reasons. It asks a lot of its reader, but it offers the most satisfying rewards.’
The Lifted Brow

‘Exploded View has all the exhilaration of a revved-up Holden’

‘Exploded View…(is) a measured, poetic focus on the small details in nature, roads and relationships.’
Arts Hub

‘This is Tiffany’s triumph…her prose has the alert, truncated poetry of a preternatural wise child—lyrical without being florid, c
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I heard Carrie Tiffany speak at Adelaide Writers Week in March I wondered whether I would want to read this, her latest novel. I knew it would be dark and disturbing. I knew that she had used a Holden car manual as a starting point for her imaginative journey and I wondered if that would work for me.

I so admired and enjoyed her previous two books, partly for their originality but also for their human warmth, I was not sure whether her new direction would be something I could bear to read.
Sally Piper
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every word, every sentence, feels weighed and measured in this beautifully poetic and spare account of childhood trauma. On the surface it is a masterfully subtle and restrained story, but underneath, in the subtext, it hits hard. Loved it.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a devastating book, with a lot of beauty but very little hope. The writing is magnificent. I feel like I held my breath the whole way through.
So tightly written, so keenly observed - this is a masterpiece of storytelling.

A story about family violence and abuse, a young girl takes back power by withholding speech and quietly sabotaging her abusive step fathers business. I could not put this down.
Shastra Deo
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, slq-reader
A book of measured ferocity; taut, sharp; it left me feeling cataclysmic, on the verge of wreckage, as if I lost some of my more delicate machinations along the way.
Cassie Bone
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My heart broke so many times during this read. One of the best fiction novels I’ve read in such a long time. Carrie Tiffany is an incredible writer. So many times I found myself flicking to the back inner leaf of the dust cover, to look at her author’s headshot - wondering how a person works with words the way she does, what sort of a mind it takes. How can you make a book that is, in a way, a creative rewriting of a Holden workshop manual (though this is the most reductionist way of approaching ...more
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Carrie Tiffany’s third novel, Exploded View, is a strangely hypnotic story about a teenage girl in the 1970s plotting to get the better of the man who has become her stepfather.

At its most base level, it is a tale of child sexual abuse, albeit done in a subtle, nuanced way (many of the references are elliptical rather than direct), but it’s also a powerful tale of a teenager taking control of her life in the only way she feels is open to her: by sabotaging the car engines her “man father” works
Hayley (meet_me_at_the_library)
3.5 rounded up.

At just 191 pages long, Exploded View may be short but it still packs a punch! The story is incredibly tense and evocative. It’s narrated by an unnamed and voiceless adolescent girl who is being abused by her father figure and is dark and devoid of hope.

I liked this coming of age story, but I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if the mechanical references had been toned down a bit. The girl having mechanical knowledge is crucial to the story, so I can understand why they’re there, b
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don't really know what to say about this. There's something about the way Carrie Tiffany writes—it's beautiful but jarring and uncomfortable at the same time. Her endings as well—I never know if I'm satisfied with them or not.
Cass Moriarty
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Author Carrie Tiffany was one of the first Australian writers to instil in me a love of writing and an ambition that I could perhaps write myself. Her previous books Mateship with Birds (which won the inaugural Stella Prize) and Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living are both wonderful examples of a writer who truly loves words and delights in the craft of writing. Her recent novel Exploded View (Text Publishing 2019) is a slim volume narrated from the perspective of a young girl who doesn’t spe ...more
This is probably too cleverly done for my little brain at the moment.
I really love Carrie Tiffany's other novels, especially her debut, so it's difficult to not give this one a higher rating but while it had it's moments the experimental clipped style didn't really appeal to me. Maybe I'm just not in the mood for something a bit different and need to go back to reading conversational types of narratives rather than stream of consciousness and picking out what is happening more by what is not sai
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany is a brutal and intense novel about the abuse of a teenage girl.

The unnamed narrator focuses on her family - her mother, her brother and her mother's new partner, referred to as 'father man'. The man runs an unlicensed mechanic’s workshop in the backyard. The girl shows her resistance with the only weapons she has at her disposal - silence and sabotage. She slips out at night to remove bolts, sever pipes and loosen screws in the engines the man is working on.

Pam Remington-lane
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I will have to think about this book for a while, a very different narrative. Reading the Miles Franklin shortlist is interesting, this is the most compelling.
Daniel Mitterdorfer
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Here is a gripping first-person narrative, detailing a teenage girl's ugly and frightening premature encounter with adulthood. She seeks refuge in the photographs and schematics of a car maintenance manual, but it isn't enough to arrest or un-break what has already started fracturing.

Carrie Tiffany has coloured within the lines she set herself, within the minimalist, almost naive approach to the telling of this story. Her ability to see the world through her eyes is first-rate; it is easy for th
Rosemary Atwell
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Tiffany’s writing is wonderfully spare and tightly-controlled.
Akin to the style of my favourite author, Helen Garner, it draws the reader into a tightly-bound web of personal observation and devastating honesty, yet still only allowing an occasional glimpse into the possibilities which lie beyond the printed page.

This really delivers as an emotional tour-de-force of creative writing. Most importantly, unlike too many present-day endeavours, it never succumbs to morbid self-indulgence or unneces
D.M. Cameron
Talk about metaphors! This entire book is a metaphor. The writing is exquisite. It is like nothing I have read. Strangely, it felt so claustrophobic, I wanted the view to explode (great play on words in this title)...I wanted this poor character to be seen, I wanted all to be exposed. Disturbing, poetic and haunting. A writer's book.
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This novel is like a master class in writing. Initially I was a bit disdainful – I’ve read a lot of Australian books lately that are told from the POV of a vulnerable child or teenager. I’m thinking here about ‘The Restorer’, about both of Sophie Laguna’s novels, about ‘Boy Swallows Universe’.
This novel features an unnamed teenage girl as narrator, with her mother, stepfather and brother forming the kernel of the narrative. The novel is set in 1970s Western Australia. The stepfather runs an unl
This is a dark and disturbing picture of a young teenager’s life in the 1970’s conveyed via the thoughts of girl who refuses to speak. Her story is in the form of snippets about her daily activities and interactions; how men and women are different, her step-father’s dishonesty, not going to school, shoplifting perfume for her mother, her step-father’s cruelty, how she works on cars, going to the tip, breaking into houses, interacting with her brother and watching TV shows like Mash and Hogan’s ...more
May 24, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a novel to be admired, but not enjoyed. It is a poetic novel, but not a lyrical one. Rather, Tiffany recreated with astounding skill the sad and dark world of an unnamed twelve-year old girl who suffered constant abuse from “Father man”, the depraved mechanic who had moved in with and perpetrated abuse on her family.

The wording of the novel was minimal, expressing the sexual and physical abuse suffered in the subtleties of the author’s language and viewed through the perspective of the
Alison O'Keefe
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought the darkness of this story would stop me from reading, but if anything it kept me hooked as I hoped it ended with something bright.
I couldn't put it down, and despite some issues I had with the language, I thought it was a brilliant way of telling this young girl's story, as she was unable to.
The language - this is a personal problem that I have with a lot of Australian literature, and it really puts me off reading Australian books. The vocabulary range in Australian literature is oft
Nathan McMahon
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Amazing writing and a lot of great quotes. But this novel is not one with a lot of focus, except to say it is a book of a fifteen year old girl’s thoughts on absolutely everything (framed by her sexual abuse at the hands of her step father).

The novel is paragraphs of ideas on things and actions and concepts and ideas about ideas - and what those ideas should or should not mean. But surprisingly little direct text on what the character thinks of her abuse.

But also as a forewarning: there is no pl
Marlz Henry
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was very intense, violent, silent and still. 'Exploded View' was a short story with a very tragic underlay. It is very clear that this book alludes to some kind of domestic violence and abuse, however it is never in direct view. The book has movement through the repairing of cars by the narrator's 'father-man', the reading of the Holden engine manual, and a very long trip in the back of the family car; yet there is a certain stillness in every image captured by the author. The narrator ...more
Anne Fenn
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is the third book I've read recently by Australian authors presenting the story through a child or young person's eyes. All have been exceptional. Zusak's Bridge of Clay, Ackland's Little Gods and now Carrie Tiffany's Exploded View. I find this novel hard to really discuss because one of its strength lies with the surprise of its contents. I will say the main character is a young girl who is the basis of possibly the most successful child's eye view of the three novels mentioned. The work l ...more
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Carrie Tiffany was born in 1965 in Halifax, West Yorkshire and migrated to Australia with her family in the early 1970s. She grew up in Perth, Western Australia. In her early twenties she worked as a park ranger in Central Australia.
She moved to Melbourne in 1988 where she began work as a writer, focusing mainly on agriculture. Tiffany took up writing fiction and completed a creative writing cours

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