Books · Read in 2021 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Flames (Robbie Arnott)

Exquisite prose that makes you feel nature


Title: Flames
Author: Robbie Arnott
Genre: Fiction /Magical Realism
First published: 2018
Edition: Paperback, published by Atlantic Books in 2019

A young man named Levi McAllister decides to build a coffin for his sister, Charlotte – who promptly runs for her life. A water rat swims upriver in quest of the cloud god. A fisherman named Karl hunts for tuna in partnership with a seal. And a father takes form from fire.


I can’t remember where I came across this book, but as soon as I read what it was about and where it was set I needed to read it. About ten years ago I travelled around Australia and one of the places I loved the most was Tasmania, the setting for this book.

The fact that I have been and seen many of the places mentioned in this book definitely added to my reading experience as it was easy for me to visualize the landscape. The way the author handled the setting and the especially the feeling of nature was what made this book so wonderful for me.

The highlight of this novel was definitely the prose itself and the overall feel of it. It was very strange and creative. The story itself was interesting and felt very original, even if it did not quite do everything that I had wanted it to do in the end. I felt like I never quite knew the characters. That is my problem, not the book’s problem. This is the kind of book I will read again in the future and without whatever expectations I had going into this book, as I would already know the story, I think I may well love it even more.

Overall this one was right up my street and I will definitely be reading more from this author. Highly recommended if you like magical realism that just takes it up that notch into the realm of the weird and wonderful.

6 out of 7 stars

2 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: Flames (Robbie Arnott)

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