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the everrumble

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the everrumble is a poetic imagining of intense focus and sweeping ideas. Zettie’s story is fluid and in motion, transcending geographies and time. She stops talking, at age seven, and starts to listen – to the worlds she finds in language and books, and to the people and places she encounters as she moves across continents. Her silence connects her to people, to nature and to the elemental world. Magical and beyond boundaries, this collection focuses on small fragments, taking Zettie, and the reader, inevitably to the place where human history began.

'a loving homage to our beleaguered planet'
–Catherine McNamara

'a tour de force'
–Christopher Allen

–Tracey Slaughter

116 pages, Paperback

Published June 22, 2019

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About the author

Michelle Elvy

17 books10 followers
A Pushcart nominee, a Watson Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, a three-time finalist in the Glass Woman international writing competition, Michelle is also the recipient of a New Zealand Society of Authors/Auckland Museum Library grant and a New Zealand Society of Authors mentorship grant. In 2016, she was also short-listed for the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship for her novel draft, and her story ‘Lost and Found in Berlin’ placed second in the Nivalis Short Story Competition.

Her poetry, fiction, travel writing, creative nonfiction and reviews have been widely published, most recently in The Feminine Divine (Cynren Press 2019), New Micro (W.W. Norton 2018), Ofi Press (2016-2018), Manifesto: 101 Political Poems from Aotearoa New Zealand (Otago University Press 2017) and Borderlands & Crossroads: Writing the Motherland (Demeter Press 2016).

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5 stars
25 (65%)
4 stars
10 (26%)
3 stars
2 (5%)
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1 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews
Profile Image for Tara.
Author 21 books530 followers
June 24, 2020
Beautiful, original, poetic hybrid novella from the talented New Zealand author Michelle Elvy. Each "chapter" is exquisitely condensed, highlighting the main character Zettie who stops talking at age 7. Instead, she listens. And hears what most of us ignore.

An ode to the earth, the environment, and to one woman's unique decision to live life on her own terms.

"But her gift has been to hear the minutest of leaf crackle and spider spinning, to hear a violin in Berlin hover over a lion's yawn reaching across the Serengeti plains. The sounds that shake the earth."

Highly recommend to lovers of flash, hybrid, and poetic prose.
Profile Image for Beverly.
Author 37 books23 followers
May 8, 2020
This novella is a lyrical and moving peek into the life of one woman who learns at a very young age that she is spiritually and physically in tune with the bigger whole. With gifts of perception and abnormally keen hearing, she embraces the sounds of nature (and drops out the cacaphony of mankind's engines, voices, civilization) and disassociates by refusing, for her lifetime, to speak.

The short chapters (flash) depict her at different ages and recount her connections to the natural 'everrumble' of the heart of planet earth. It is a poetic and intriguing voyage in the head of a person who could be a metaphor for that better self that modern mankind has lost. The death cries of a SeaWorld captive orca named Shamu provides a vehicle for expressing the cruelty and obliviousness of the human condition that sends her to an alternate reality.

I enjoyed the writing and the concept and in these days of coronavirus lockdown, staying at home, the time for reflection is plenty. Michelle Elvy has written the perfect little jewel for holding close to one's heart in solitude. I recommend it.
Profile Image for Jackie Hatton.
Author 1 book7 followers
July 29, 2019
the everrumble is a mythic, epic, poetic, short novel. When Zettie stops speaking at the age of seven nobody knows why and nobody knows when she will speak again. This mystery travels with us as we follow the course of Zettie's long nomadic life. And as it is with Zettie, the presence of the everrumble is also always there -- another mystery waiting to reveal itself. Both innocent and knowing, the everrumble allows the reader to experience the world Zettie's way, unfettered by the usual conventions of behaviour and speech. I found reading the book to be a curious, beautiful, and ethereal experience. It only took me three hours to read; but three weeks later it continues to resonate.
Profile Image for Meg Pokrass.
Author 26 books86 followers
December 2, 2019
the everrumble illuminates the life of an exceptional child who at a very young age, becomes physically mute but spiritually open and alert to the sounds of the world itself. Told in stunning fragments, this hybrid novella is one to love and to hold close. A most unusual concoction of wonderful moments from the wizardly pen of Michelle Elvy- this is a celebration of life, a placeholder, both inspiring and sustaining during dark times.
Profile Image for Karen Kao.
Author 2 books11 followers
January 14, 2020
Read the everrumble by Michelle Elvy on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Find a hammock near a babbling brook. Let the birdsong enter your ear and nestle in your heart. Immerse yourself in the world of Zettie. This is how her story begins.
The light enters like tiny diamonds — ancient shards piercing the dark world. Zettie has curled herself so tight she can’t feel the fissures anymore; she’s smooth like a marble, no sharp edges. Under the wooly cover, she hears her own breath and nothing else. The blanket is blue and green, with streaks of orange
(papaya, really)
and yellow
(mango, really)
and a deep red: primeval soil. [...]

This is the year Zettie stops speaking.

Don’t expect the everrumble to reveal the mystery of what’s wrong with Zettie. Or revel in how this brave little girl conquers a terrible disability. There is, in fact, nothing at all wrong with Zettie. She simply chooses to hear rather than be heard.

To read the full review, please visit my website for Listen.
Profile Image for Nod Ghosh.
Author 10 books9 followers
August 4, 2019
A beautiful book that unravels like folded ribbons of colour. Here is a protagonist who casts her voice aside to listen, really listen to the sounds of the world. We see Zettie aged seven, we see her much older, we see her at a younger age.

These stories are crafted together with well-chosen quotes from classic fiction. Each can hold its own. Each fits like a perfect jigsaw piece with the others.

Here we see a girl who talks with her hands, a soothsayer. There we see a girl who could defy gravity, Shamu the whale. Here we see the magic of a special blanket, how a young girl's silence draws evil towards her. There we see the heartbeat of every living creature.

everrumble carries the reader through the world. everrumble examines what it means to exist.
Profile Image for Nancy Stohlman.
Author 22 books37 followers
February 12, 2020
Sitting at the crossroads between flash fiction, poetry, and the novel, Michelle's Elvy's debut book in short form, the everrumble, is an allegory, a fable, a love affair with the world, and, considering what is happening to our planet right now: it's a warning. In Elvy's hands the everrumble is alive, the beating heart of the world. Only one small child can hear it. But sometimes one is enough. 
Profile Image for Jocelyn.
350 reviews1 follower
January 5, 2022
Michelle Elvy is a New Zealand author and poet. This novella defies categorizing, the writing is lyrical, poetic in places, and the theme is stunningly original (as the book cover proclaims). This is a book I could read over again and yet again for the beauty and the strangeness of it.

Afterword: Jan 2022. Beautiful, moving, mysteriously profound, this little book with a big heart grows more delightful with each re-read. I love it.
Profile Image for Bronwyn Hegarty.
403 reviews
November 22, 2020
This is a gem - poetic, rythmic and surprising in the complex messages embedded in simplicity. This is a unique book, and not one I would usually read - scenes of flash fiction writing. It was a memorable experience.

Lettie is an amazing and complex chartacter and I was blown away by the spiritual messages in this book. Lettie stops speaking at 7 years old, and the reason is unclear although one scene leaves big questions. While she doesn't speak, Lettie develops an astute ability to hear the world, and to not only to hear sounds from across the globe but to experience life fully wherever she is and whatever she is doing.

This will be a book I return to again and again to read excerpts, and to experience the ebb and flow of a life.
Profile Image for Beverly.
Author 37 books23 followers
December 2, 2022
This novella is a lyrical and moving peek into the life of one woman who learned at a very young age that she was spiritually and physically a part of the bigger whole. With gifts of perception and keen hearing, she embraces the sounds of nature (and drops out the cacaphony of mankind's engines, voices, civilization) and disassociates by refusing, for her lifetime, to speak.

The short chapters (flash) depict her at different ages and account her connections to the natural 'everrumble' of the heart of planet earth. It is a poetic and intriguing voyage in the head of a person who could be a metaphor for that better self that modern mankind has lost.

Profile Image for Charlotte.
39 reviews30 followers
December 11, 2021
I was completed mesmerized by this astounding book. I read it in several hours while very reluctantly setting it aside to take care of mundane tasks. The story of Zettie is totally absorbing, the imagery and narrative is lush. This story is a celebration of life, the earth, nature, and the power of mindfulness. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Tracy.
254 reviews3 followers
September 21, 2021
This was a rather lovely read with some beautiful and imaginative writing. At age 7 Zettie stops talking so she can listen to the everrumble of the world/nature. Poetic and poignant with a genuine message about listening to our planet.
Profile Image for Johanna Robinson.
Author 7 books5 followers
July 31, 2019
I found this book totally compelling and a stunning piece of writing. The author brings us back and forth through the main character Zettie's life, a girl/woman who stops speaking in order to listen harder to the earth. The rhythm of the book and the chapters echoes the soundwaves that are present throughout.

I found the experience of reading the book very moving - by removing the willingness of the main character to speak, we are forced to see the world through her eyes and hear it through her ears, and it changes one's perspective on the world as one reads. Beautiful in both the detail and the scope.
Profile Image for TM Upchurch.
Author 0 books31 followers
July 7, 2019
This story charts the life of Zettie who, at the age of seven, stops talking in favour of listening, and she hears everything, from dust motes to elephant feet, from the fizz of a cola to the sigh of a giraffe, and the ever-present heartbeat of the world. It's a celebration of sound and time, and a gorgeous reminder to pause for a moment, to enjoy our lives and the world we live in. This is a book that I'll carry around to re-read when I feel tired or in need of inspiration, and to share with friends. Favourite. All the stars.
40 reviews3 followers
August 2, 2019
4.5 stars - This is a gorgeous novella written in flash fiction, telling a dreamy, poignant, complex, layered story. It isn’t until the end that you’re able to piece everything together and then you’ll want to read it again for the language and the richness and to confirm your thinking. It’s a contemporary fable that crosses cultures and continents and reaches into the dreamworld. Beautiful.
12 reviews
July 23, 2019
Beautiful words I couldn’t stop myself reading in one sitting. Zettie is lovable and shares her own love of the world and all within it. This story will stay with me and as Tania Hershman is quoted as saying it is indeed small-but-enormous.
Profile Image for Louella Lester.
Author 2 books3 followers
August 1, 2019
I really enjoyed this beautiful touching book. A journey through time and place. Small bits of story coming together to make a big one. Magical. Fairytale-like, yet not. Hard to describe. You must read it for yourself. Then read it again.
Profile Image for Bronwen Griffiths.
Author 4 books16 followers
September 18, 2019
A beautifully written novella-in-flash. In both a magical and realistic style, Elvy manages to pack in the whole story of a woman's life, from childhood to old age and death. At the same time Elvy also says a lot about the natural world and our current response to it. Recommended.
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews

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