'Cate Kennedy's name will be familiar to anyone who takes even the vaguest interest in Australian short story contests … It seems like a smart move by Scribe to publish her first collection. Not only should it appeal to readers looking for new short fiction of established quality, but also, presumably, to the thousands of writers who enter short story competitions each year and who wish to see the gold standard.'
Delia Falconer, Australian Book Review
'overall these stories have perfect pitch; they're sophisticated yet unpretentious and sometimes funny ... Kennedy has occupied them and imagined her way into them, and given them great depth.'
Anne Susskind, Bulletin
'a timely reminder of how good a short story can be.'
Matthew Lamb, Courier Mail (favourite reads 2006)
'At its roots, Kennedy's work shows how vibrant and vital the short story can be.'
'Prepare to be mesmerised. The art of short story writing is no better exemplified than in this most wonderful collection of prize-winning tales. … Not a word is wasted … I hungrily devoured each one, and just for the sheer pleasure of it, went back and read them again.'
Steve Woodman, Illawarra Mercury
'The short story has been labelled an endangered species in some quarters, but will live on while ever writers such as Kennedy continue to produce collections such as this.'
Peter Barrett, intune (an Armidale Express publication)
'Stories rendered with considerable craft and informed by a clear-eyed, unsentimental empathy.'
'If stories could be called watchful, that might begin to describe Cate Kennedy's debut collection, Dark Roots. Her characters live with the metallic taste of dread and regret, "little bads" that sabotage a life. So the aging woman with a young lover in the title story watches her roots grow out, dark with traces of gray, "an abrupt line drawn against the scalp like a growth ring on a tree." Kennedy's tales are full of such provocative messages, tantalizingly revealed.'
'Kennedy's prose walks the line between sparse and lush, and she trusts that her readers welcome well-articulated ideas balanced with reassuring doses of mystery.'
Starred Publishers Weekly
'Cate Kennedy's stories typically end with a sly emotional punch — hard and swift to leave the reader breathless.'
Genevieve Swart, Sun Herald
'stunning ... Each story picks you up, takes you out of your life and smack bang into the middle of another place and time where the troubles and joys are laid bare and stripped back to their essence with incredibly spare and gifted writing. This collection is a joy to read...'
Grace Sanderson, Sunday Age
'This is an intelligent, well-crafted collection and Kennedy is an exceptional writer. These stories are narrated with confidence and grace, and switch with ease from a 10-year-old boy's voice to a grieving young woman's. Kennedy's background as a poet and travel writer are revealed through her imaginative language and lyrical paragraphs. The powerful narration in some of her stories fully captures the human voice in distress.'
Sunday Herald (Scotland)
'This warm and tender collection is by turns funny, wise and achingly sad, the stories tracing the fault lines between the inner life, riddled with hopes and anxieties, and the constraints of the outer world in which we are forced to act. The power of the collection lies in Kennedy's ability to capture the precise psychological moment of this crossover, when the pressure of an inner world explodes into action, often altering a life forever.'
Stephanie Bishop, Sydney Morning Herald
'This year is surely the time and place for Kennedy, who is possibly the most successful short-fiction writer in Australia ... Dark Roots is a short collection of 14 of Kennedy's best stories from the past decade, including some previously unpublished work ... There are sly little murders, quiet but crucial turning points. Everything hangs on a modest but vivid detail, such as the taste of moon cake.'
Jane Sullivan, The Age
'Cate Kennedy's collection of short stories, Dark Roots, announces the arrival of a major talent in Australian fiction. She has a near pitch-perfect voice and a feeling for the precise moment when stars move in the cosmos.'
Peter Temple (Reads of the Year 2006), The Age
'Although her subject matter is vastly different from Hemingway's bullfighters and boozers, Kennedy's narrative restraint has echoes of his work and is perfect for the short-story form. The best stories are radiant with startling language and wickedly perverse plots ... There is wit and intelligence beneath most of these stories.'
Mandy Sayer, The Age
'Little wonder that this author has won so many literary awards. Writing with economy, Cate Kennedy paints her scenarios with appealing eloquence ... The voice is chatty with a poetic rhythmic flow, but it's not without tension. With daring versatility and conviction, Kennedy probes the psychological make-up of a variety of individuals ... With teasing insights and with a sense of simmering menace just below the surface such tales take unexpected turns to generate surprise.'
Gillian Wills, The Courier-Mail
'These are precisely observed pieces, deserving of a wide audience.'
Catherine Taylor, The Guardian
'Cate Kennedy's story collection Dark Roots is a revelation. Here's a writer who can be dark, moody, funny and provocative, often in the same story. With breathtaking efficiency, she gets right into her character's skin, sets up the locale and action and lets it unfold seamlessly, in unexpected ways.'
Tony Maniaty, Weekend Australian