“Fire in the Sea” by Myke Bartlett

A publisher once said to me, “We can’t tell if your book is literary or adventure. The writing is sometimes poetic and sometimes not, and it’s too slow to be popular fiction.” In Australia, “literary” is a dirty word – the conception is that the writing might be pretty, but it’ll be boring. So I sped up the pace of that book of mine, and all the others since. If I’d gone in the opposite direction – focusing more on stunning writing and less on a fast-paced plot – I might have won the Text Prize this year. Maybe. One of the editorial comments they gave me was, “You rush through things. You should slow down.” C’est la publishing biz. But I know what kind of writer I want to be.

“Fire in the Sea” won the Text Prize last year. I was lucky enough to acquire an advance copy – and even to get it signed. Myke and his wife were a lot of fun to meet and talk to, and Myke (a tall and easy-going man with a good sense of humour) was touchingly unsure of his signature, working it out over the course of the evening. I’m pretty sure that the awkward, half-formed autograph in my copy will be worth millions one day: catching the moment as a new and excellent writer is born.

I finished the book only moments ago, and wanted very much to sit and think about it before writing this review, but I knew that I wouldn’t have a better chance to blog in the next twenty-four hours, and I promised readers and Myke himself that I’d review it this week. I suspect if I re-read the book or engaged my brain a little more, it would have layers upon layers of smart symbology and intelligence. But, ya know, I got stuff to do.

The book was. . .

The rest of the review is at Comfy Chair.

8 thoughts on ““Fire in the Sea” by Myke Bartlett

    • W: Good. I want to read more fantasy set in Australia! It’s so much more eerie to read about a place I’ve been.

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