Sylvia Petter’s collection flings the reader across the globe in its bold exploration of love, death, passion, relationship, and family. Echoing her own life experience, Sylvia Petter’s award-winning stories explore universal themes through lenses of distance and separation. Back Burning spans continents, zooming in on snapshots of relationships from childhood and young love, through adulthood and career, political pursuits and history, to awakening in old age. Powerful stories of loss and rejuvenation emerge from this patchwork in unexpected ways.
Sylvia gives an overview of the book:
I’m on a flight from Sydney to London and beneath me a haze veils the Opera House. I’ve just buried Ralph, my mother’s husband.
I move to the vacant seat by the window and think of my husband and daughters in England. I think of another man in my life, of the two men my mother loved.
I’d gone to Sydney for my stepfather’s funeral, my head filled with visions of brush fires and burning. The outside of the white bungalow, the house I’d grown up in, had still been the same, just the paint on the guttering had started to peel.
My mother and I were in the lounge and she was swaying gently on the settee. ‘He was my big love,’ she said. My tears were brimming as I sat down beside her. ‘But your father was a good man, too,’ she said.
Sylvia Petter is an Australian writer based in Vienna.
In 1993, she began to write fiction. She was an active member of the Geneva Writers’ Group (Geneva, Switzerland), serving on its steering committee and was in charge of publicity for its literary Journal, Offshoots...