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July 9, 2018


Short stories: Like a House on Fire

by NancyElin



Flexionexcellent – great last sentence  – wife-husband relationship.

Ashes –  excellent – great last sentence –  son-mother and recently deceased father relationship.

Laminex and Mirrors wonderful….very funny yet touching.
Narrator is an 18 yr cleaning girl in hospital who establishes a connection  with an old dying man.  The matron keeps a close eye on our young girl when she lingers too long with her new friend: ”matron calls her in a tone of permafrost…she snaps in an  enraged whisper.” The old man is whisked away by the girl for a surprise  hot steaming bath. ” Haven’t felt this way in years…weightless.” The old man also gets at the desired but forbidden cigarette from this young cleaner…he’s elated and says “Your blood is worth bottling.”

Tender – Honest, often-hilarious perspective of family life with the backdrop of an approaching appointment for the mother’s biopsy. She remains the Rock of Gibraltar for her family despite her fears.

Like a House on Fire – Hilarious description of father who is chief child-care provider (…suffering from lower back pain)…while he gets the Christmas decorations from the attic…puts the tree in the bucket with bricks to anchor it. The children are not in the Xmas mood but Dad says: “TV of off until every piece of tinsel is on the tree!” Family life and on Christmas eve and relationship with wife endearing and told in details we all see around the house!Absolutely terrific!! It seems every story gets better and better! Bravo Cate Kennedy,  this was the BEST story!



  1. These are the notes I made about the first five short stories.
  2. It seem every story got increasingly better!
  3. Unfortunately….the rest of the stories failed to dazzle me.
  4. The first 5 stories tasted like a sparking glass of champagne
  5. ….they went straight to my head!
  6. The last 10 stories tasted like sparkling water
  7. … refreshing but without the ‘bubble buzz’.
3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jul 10 2018

    I read this so long ago I thought I had forgotten them, but your descriptions of your 5 favourites, brought them back to me straight away – esp the young girl in the hospital helping the older man.

    • Jul 10 2018

      Really, the first 5 stories are the best…then it becomes a disappointing book. That is sad because Cate Kennedy can write…no doubt about it.
      The emphatic 18 yr. nurse….was very funny and touching. But I had to laugh out loud with ‘Like a House of Fire’ Christmas stress (nativity scene ruined!) …and a father with back aches (…which I have also) was the golden combination that brings back memoirs of Xmas past: Xmas Tree and how my mother kept us in control while decorating it (…sisters do tend to have different opinions how the tinsel should be draped on the branches!). Thanks for your comments! Felling better?


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