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Shirley Hazzard (1931–2016)

Författare till The Great Fire

14+ verk 4,317 medlemmar 91 recensioner 14 favoritmärkta

Om författaren

Shirley Hazzard was born in Sydney, Australia on January 30, 1931. Before becoming an author in the early 1960s, she went to work for the British Combined Intelligence Services in Hong Kong, was an employee of the British High Commissioner's Office in Wellington, New Zealand, and was a technical visa mer assistant to under-developed countries for the United Nations. Her first book, Cliffs of Fall and Other Stories, was published in 1963. Her other books include The Evening of the Holiday, People in Glass Houses, The Bay of Noon, Greene on Capri, Countenance of Truth: The United Nations and the Waldheim Case, Defeat of an Ideal, and The Ancient Shore: Dispatches From Naples written with her husband Francis Steegmuller. She won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 1980 for The Transit of Venus and the National Book Award for fiction in 2003 for The Great Fire. She died on December 12, 2016 at the age of 85. (Bowker Author Biography) Shirley Hazzard's books include "The Evening of the Holiday", "The Bay of Noon", & "The Transit of Venus" (winner of the 1981 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction). (Publisher Provided) visa färre
Foto taget av: Christopher Peterson

Verk av Shirley Hazzard

The Great Fire (2003) 1,899 exemplar
The Transit of Venus (1980) 1,290 exemplar
The Bay of Noon (1970) 297 exemplar
Greene on Capri (2000) 234 exemplar
The Evening of the Holiday (1966) 170 exemplar
Collected Stories (2020) 108 exemplar
People in Glass Houses (1967) 92 exemplar
Countenance of Truth (1990) 22 exemplar
Coming of age in Australia. (1985) 3 exemplar

Associerade verk

The Treasury of English Short Stories (1985) — Bidragsgivare — 81 exemplar
Prize Stories 1988: The O. Henry Awards (1988) — Bidragsgivare — 35 exemplar
Antaeus No. 75/76, Autumn 1994 - The Final Issue (1994) — Bidragsgivare — 32 exemplar
Italy: The Best Travel Writing from the New York Times (2004) — Bidragsgivare — 21 exemplar


Allmänna fakta



Hazzard begins Ancient Shore with an abbreviated autobiography of her childhood and how she discovered Italy. From there, different essays connect Naples to its culture, politics, history, and endless charm. Hazzard remembers Naples of the 1950s so there is a nostalgic air to her writing. Because Ancient Shore is a little dated, I wondered if some of the details are still accurate. I guess I will have to travel there to find out!
Hazzard's husband, Francis Steegmuller, steps in for a story about a violent mugging he experienced. His tale is terrible. Terrible because he was warned many times over not to carry his bag a certain way. Terrible because the violence caused great ever-lasting injury. Terrible, above all, because he knew better. This was not his first time in Naples.… (mer)
SeriousGrace | 2 andra recensioner | Sep 9, 2023 |
I have read Hazzard’s Great Fire and, sadly, do not share Liam’s enthusiasm. First and foremost, I did not think that either Aldred Leith or Helen Driscoll, the two major characters, was particularly well-drawn or fleshed out. I found the story more about the relationship than about two individuals. In addition, I was surprised that I didn’t find either one of them particularly sympathetic, certainly not as much as, for example, as Peter Exley, a major character whom Hazzard essentially drops entirely when his story seems to get in her way. Her sudden and virtually total dispensation with this character I found inexplicable. Just as startling is her dropping of Ben, another central character for at least the first half of the novel. Not only is he essentially dropped, he is disposed of late in the book in a matter of a few quick sentences.
Hazzard spends little time drawing minor characters. Thus, Helen's parents barely register; they occupy one very early scene and then become stick figures, as are virtually all of the minor characters, with a couple noteworthy exceptions. Minor characters can be minor and yet well-drawn, with depth, fullness, and even a modicum of complexity. That simply wasn’t the case with Great Fire.
I thought the last chapters on Leith in England and Helen in NZ were overlong and added little to either the characters or the plot or even to Hazzard’s theme(s). I am also baffled that Hazzard reintroduces a very minor character (Raimonda Mancini) for all of a paragraph. Moreover, the introduction of so many new characters toward the end—Aurora Searle and an entire cast of people in NZ—felt like padding: it was beside the point, unnecessary to the plot or the theme(s), and ultimately more distracting than anything else. These chapters added virtually nothing to the picture we already had of Leith and Helen.
I also found most of the characters to be so self-involved that I honestly had trouble accepting them as real or as sympathetic. Yes, we are all self-involved to a degree. But not so deeply and constantly as the characters here are. Helen also seemed to me to be far too “wise” for her age. Few 18-year-old women talk or think as she does. Hell, few 28-year-olds, for that matter. Why does it bother me? Because, in the end, I found it very challenging to consider her a believable character.
The “tone” of so many conversations also seemed off: most people’s conversations do not wax philosophic all the time. Sometimes, sure. But virtually all the time? Angst, world-weariness, metaphysical speculation are constants here. Moreover, everyone speaks in the same voice: well-spoken, “literate” and not much like “real” people—or maybe I should say not the people I know. (Maybe that should be a lesson to me.) There is virtually no distinguishing one character from another: they all have the same tone, the same literate vocabulary, regardless of background, interests, or position.
All this said, I still think Hazzard tells a (mostly) interesting story and her themes are worthwhile and (mostly) well set out. She is a good writer—though I for one found her stylistic tics (sentences without subjects, sentence fragments) offputting. Having poked around a bit, I recognize that this book is highly regarded, so take my criticisms with a grain (or more) of salt. No doubt others (maybe most) will disagree. But that's my take.
… (mer)
Gypsy_Boy | 40 andra recensioner | Aug 26, 2023 |
In a vague but overwhelming postwar depression studded with images of physical acedia, injury, and disease the characters haltingly seek to escape (to the past or the future?) via very romantic love. This won the National Book Award, and was nominated for my own Stage IV Oy Vey Award, but was too well-written to make the shortlist.
The author writes in sentences that sometimes seem to have holes in them. I first thought that this was some kind of synecdoche, but it isn’t. Her writing is abstract, oblique, and peppered with poetic or odd word choices; adjectives as nouns, etc. She also likes to occasionally give her punctuation a strenuous work-out:

By now, misery would have circulated: the dead would be named, the relatives informed; existences derailed.

Near the book's slowly approaching ending, a character comments,

"What a cruel story. Does everyone have a cruel story?”.

They certainly do here, although it sometimes seems as though they both exaggerate and cherish it. I sometimes felt like the family practitioner who dealt with various mental disorders by slapping his patients and saying, Get a hold of yourself, man!
… (mer)
markm2315 | 40 andra recensioner | Jul 1, 2023 |
I was completely enthralled by these stories about failed relationships in Cliffs of Fall, Shirley Hazzard’s 1963 debut.

Mismatched couples, relationships gone sour, partners talking dismissively to each other. Hazzard shows by constantly alternating their perspectives how her characters think they know how others regard them, yet they are completely wrong.

Combined with Shirley Hazzard’s beautiful writing style which is somewhat brighter and feels a bit less weighted down with symbolism than her later novels, every single story in this collection was a joy to read.… (mer)
leoslittlebooklife | Jun 1, 2023 |



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