BookBrowse Reviews Dark Roots by Cate Kennedy

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Dark Roots

by Cate Kennedy

Dark Roots by Cate Kennedy X
Dark Roots by Cate Kennedy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Feb 2008, 224 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva

Buy This Book

About this Book



Paperback Original. Devastating, evocative, and richly comic, this arresting collection introduces a new master of the short story

Dark Roots is a remarkable collection of short stories, and a sure bet for a good weekend read. Cate Kennedy's writing is sharp; her details are meaningful but not meandering, her dialogue spot-on and funny but also totally believable, the plot lines dramatic, but so well crafted that your trust never wavers. Writing about predicaments we're curious about (fatal accidents, murder, drug smuggling, infidelity, sabotage, unwanted pregnancies), Kennedy anchors her high-stakes plotlines in the most familiar emotions, making generous, unmanipulative stories that pull the reader in for thrills and revelations. Whether writing in first, second, or third person, about a fed-up-housewife or a disturbed nine year old boy, Kennedy hits the mark from the very first line, nailing the subtleties in tone, details, and dialogue.

A quick glance at the credits page reveals that nearly all of these stories have won top prizes in Australian short story competitions, and it's no surprise. Each story is almost a textbook study of the form, jolted alive with true artistry. Writers will find much instruction and inspiration here, both in Kennedy's conceptual approach to the story and in the craft of her exposition. The really unusual thing is that these stories are also compulsively readable, which is not typically a defining characteristic of non-genre short fiction. Whereas I'm usually drawn to short stories that live in the spaces between the action, I found myself desperately wanting to race to the end of each of Kennedy's, compelled by the plot and the fates that awaited its characters. Think of the rush you get from racing to the end of an up-all-night novel – except there are seventeen of these, each less than ten pages long. If you're pressed for time, you can't really do better than one of these before bed. And if you're not, then you've got a great weekend ahead of you.

Reviewed by Lucia Silva

This review is from the March 6, 2008 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Winter
    by Ali Smith
    "God was dead; to begin with." This first sentence of Winter perfectly sets up the dreamy journey ...
  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

  • Book Jacket: Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Eat the Apple
    Eat the Apple
    by Matt Young
    Truth is stranger than fiction. Matt Young's memoir tackles the space in between truth and ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Anatomy of a Miracle
    by Jonathan Miles

    A stunning novel that offers an exploration of faith, science and the meaning of life.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano

    A charming, bighearted novel starring Auntie Poldi, Sicily's newest amateur sleuth.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.