Sounds of the Soul

Genre: Short Stories

Author: Patrick Holland

Publisher: Salt Publishing

Year: 2010

RRP: $24.95

If there is one thing that Patrick Holland does in spades it’s long luscious descriptions of place, which makes his latest endeavour an exciting prospect.

The Source of the Sound is a collection of eleven short stories, as meticulously detailed and as haunting as anything Holland’s ever written. The stories trek from Beijing to Queensland to chronicle a search to return home from those in exile.

This is typical of Holland, who in his other stories, particularly The Long Road of the Junkmailer, used the spatial plotting points of the land to create his plotline. In this case the scope of the journey is physically much larger as Holland draws on his Christian beliefs as inspiration. The stories are linked by the theme of faith as the physical journeys become a spiritual search for modern meaning.

The final and most poignant story in the collection is the name sake of the book which continues fifteen years after the events in Holland’s lastest and most acclaimed novel The Mary Smokes Boys. The voice of the piece is the brother of the girl killed in the novel and it is rife with religious undertones, Christian motifs and, in an almost trademark of Holland, something resembling magic realism as the brother’s imagination haunts him.

It is a collection with something for everyone and has all the ingredients you come to expect from a master of emotion like Holland. It’s beautiful, highly sensory and portrays the rawness of feeling and power of imagination beneath the surface of liminal human experience.

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