'In this award-winning work of fiction, Ellen van Neerven takes her readers on a journey that is mythical, mystical and still achingly real.'
'Over three parts, she takes traditional storytelling and gives it a unique, contemporary twist. In ‘Heat’, we meet several generations of the Kresinger family and the legacy left by the mysterious Pearl. In ‘Water’, a futuristic world is imagined and the fate of a people threatened. In ‘Light’, familial ties are challenged and characters are caught between a desire for freedom and a sense of belonging.'
'Heat and Light presents an intriguing collection while heralding the arrival of an exciting new talent in Australian writing.' (Publication summary)
'In 1998 Michelle Grossman’s overview of Indigenous women’s writing explored the significant contribution that life writing had made to the country’s literatures and pondered where younger authors might take Indigenous writing in the twenty-first century. This essay examines the work of one such writer, Ellen van Neerven, whose award-winning collection of stories, Heat and Light (2014), is a work of fiction that draws in part on personal and family stories to offer heterogeneous representations of individuals and families, lovers and friends. Part short story cycle, part long story, part story collection, the text resists easy categorisation. Within its tripartite structure, the sixteen stories are narrated in radically different ways to draw on themes explored before in Australian Aboriginal literature, such as the importance of extended family and belonging, in sometimes new ways, such as through a futuristic vision of Australia. Through a close reading of the text, and discussion that incorporates comments made by Neerven herself, this article suggests that through its varied structures, genres and styles, Heat and Light re-imagines and celebrates the fluid and diverse nature of contemporary Indigeneity.'