Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany

Exploded ViewExploded View by Carrie Tiffany
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought the darkness of this story would stop me from reading, but if anything it kept me hooked as I hoped it ended with something bright.
I couldn’t put it down, and despite some issues I had with the language, I thought it was a brilliant way of telling this young girl’s story, as she was unable to.
The language – this is a personal problem that I have with a lot of Australian literature, and it really puts me off reading Australian books. The vocabulary range in Australian literature is often made to be as dry, brittle and brutal as some of Australia’s landscape – and I hate it. I hate everything being likened to shit, I hate the cracking ground, I hate the flies in mouths, I hate the sticky heat. I’m so sick of reading about it as a defining part of a story. I hate the pissing, and the bony knees – Australian literature could have so much richness that doesn’t have to revolve around sparse, harsh language. This book had a lot of that.
What it also had was a Holden Manual, and a beautiful prose that once you were in, managed to merge parts of a car with parts of a female body. Human experience against the running of a machine and its parts. It was amazingly well done.
The girl who is mute for most of the book creates us a world that tells us of her trauma through the pages of a car manual and her sabotaging of cars, particularly one. And it works so well.
There is barely any dialogue, yet I didn’t feel like there was too much describing – in fact, there could have been more. But the pared back writing style was a credit to the author, and sets this apart from ‘Mateship with Birds’.
I would recommend this story to anyone that enjoys well-written Australian literature.

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