David Hall, Team Leader Bexley North Library, Reviews Silence: Fictions by Rodney Hall.
Q: What does a 2 times Miles Franklin Award winner write?
A: Anything they like!
Silence is a collection of very short, seemingly unconnected stories by celebrated author Rodney Hall. Each story in Silence is brimming with wonderful imagery with its own separate story. The stories range from a single page in length to several pages and each is beautifully written.
I have read a couple of Hall’s novels before (Captivity Captive and Second Bridegroom), a long time ago and thoroughly enjoyed them. This book is a diversion from his standard and I wasn’t quiet sure what to expect from Silence, but was pleasantly surprised. This book is exactly what I’d expect a 2 times Miles Franklin Award winner to write. It’s almost poetic and flowery (beautiful) in its writing style and I fell like Hall is just showing off.
Not all stories are created equal and I like some more than others. One of the better stories near the beginning named Talkad is about the life and death of a Hindu temple. It culminates in the eventual invasion of tourists who have no idea what beauty and history lay right beneath their feet in the dunes they are walking on. This story was so beautifully written and full of wondrous imagery that I had troubles moving on to the next story. One story, The Fire Priest, I found to be totally bizarre and it made little sense. I understand where Hall was going with this one page story but it was so far from any normal sentence structure that I felt weird about it.
If you like this book you should read others by this author. The number of award Hall has won is extensive, including the NSW Premier’s Literary Award 2014, the Miles Franklin Award 1982 & 94, ALS Gold Medal 2011, and Grace Leven Prize for Poetry. I highly recommend Captivity Captive, but you may have to ask staff to get it on Inter Library Loan.