Cosmopolitan in location, exquisitely executed, and glinting with the sort of keen wit and perception found in the fiction of Margaret Drabble and Elizabeth Bowen, Hazzard's stories are startlingly fresh and revealing in their poise, sting, and compassion
Shirley Hazzard is a perfectionist's writer.... [her stories are] slender yet solid, consummate, as fascinated and affected by the mysteries of experience as they are self-assured ... Her writing requires the sort of sustained attention she believed art deserved, but her relationship with her reader is always reciprocal: she doesn't create mystery but reveals its vital place in life
The Australian-American writer's short fiction is full of precisely observed studies of thwarted connection . . . Often by portraying its absence, these stories assert the importance of true connection, in the elegant, scalpel-sharp prose for which Hazzard has been admired since her earliest work . . . the collection offers a fine introduction to a remarkable writer who deserves to go on finding new readers
Often by portraying its absence, these stories assert the importance of true connection, in the elegant, scalpel-sharp prose for which Hazzard has been admired since her earliest work... the collection offers a fine introduction to a remarkable writer who deserves to go on finding new readers.
And what an exquisitely polished writer [Hazzard] was, at once serious and bitingly funny, a master of both the plush, well-rounded sentence and the oblique takedown. Not for Hazzard the stripped-down prose and catchy conversational style that were already coming into vogue when these stories were written
Now, finally, her clear-headed brilliance seems to be on a steep upward popularity curve ... Reading the stories together is a treat ... Hazzard's is the sparky, considered voice of a world-class observer of humanity
Hazzard understood the human condition in all its contradiction, all its messiness, like few others. Collected Stories is certainly essential for admirers of the author, but it's also a wonderful read for anyone who loves fiction that delights and enlightens, challenges and rewards
The distinctive and exacting fiction of Shirley Hazzard (1931-2016) has not lacked advocates. Her output wasn't large - just four novels and two volumes of short stories, together with non-fiction including memoirs, essays and travel writing - but her two finest novels, The Transit of Venus (1980) and The Great Fire (2003), won major prizes and have not been forgotten... This definitive collection of Hazzard's short stories is a welcome reminder of her remarkable talent
Hazzard's stories feel timeless because she understands, as she writes in one of them: "We are human beings, not rational ones."
Shirley Hazzard is an author for whom there just aren't praises high enough. Wise, elegant, generous, moving - to finish reading a book of hers is to feel bereft of something sublime