'... vivid and robust realism shading occasionally into satire, full of humour and drama, told through different and conflicting points of view ... In some ways it's reminiscent of Christos Tsiolkas's The Slap: an unsentimental, beady eyed look at contemporary Australian middle age and its treatment of its children.'
Kerryn Goldsworthy, Australian Literary Review
'The World Beneath is an intelligent modern Australian novel, displaying that fine eye for unexpected humour and everyday tragedies that made Kennedy’s stories so appealing.'
Bookseller & Publisher [Four Stars]
'The World Beneath displays all the hallmarks of the short-story writer's art; acute observation and concise execution.'
Sandy McCutcheon, Courier Mail
'Cate Kennedy’s The World Beneath is a very effective blend of social comedy and lyrically precise naturalism ... At her best, Kennedy writes like an Antipodean Anne Tyler, wryly aware of the heart’s internal contradictions yet slow to judge. Subtle allusions to the myth of Persephone add another level to this impressive tale of self-reliance and self-delusion.'
Financial Times (UK)
'Cate Kennedy's ironic humour nails out-of-touch grandparents, flailing Baby Boomers and tech-head adolescents. The World Beneath is a treasure of a first novel by a prize-winning short story writer and poet. This is Australia calling. I loved it.'
Eleanor Massey, Good Reading Magazine [Five Stars — 'Outstanding']
'Making a seamless transition from acclaimed short-story writer to novelist, Cate Kennedy's The World Beneath is a riveting family drama of survival and disorientation played out in Tasmania's vast wilderness.'
'Kennedy has delivered an outstanding story.' (Pick of the Month)
'It's a feisty tale wonderfully told; rigorous, clever, and yes, highly recommended.'
Gail Jones, Readings Newsletter
'When the inner lives of ordinary people are made gripping and moving and enlightening, then you know you are in the hands of a great storyteller.'
Lucy Clark, Sunday Mail/Sunday Telegraph
'The World Beneath is an intelligent, equivocal, unusual and often amusing novel, one that comprehends the comfort of stereotypes and pushes beyond them, one that, in the words of its epigraph from Turgenev, sees that "the heart of another is a dark forest".'
Peter Pierce, Sydney Morning Herald
'Cate Kennedy, celebrated for her short fiction, this year began her long-distance career with The World Beneath. To my mind, she enters the stadium a hundred metres in front of the next novice and with the best time for many years.'
Peter Temple, The Age
'Cate Kennedy has segued from award-winning short-story writer to debut novelist with brilliant virtuosity. The World Beneath has all the hallmarks of her previous fiction: it's told with compassion and devastating honesty, and Kennedy has a canny ability to plunge deeply into the psyche of her characters and reveal the motivations behind their ordinary lives ... Kennedy manages to address serious subjects with an entertaining and sometimes humorous light touch. But she doesn't shy away from the big questions or neglect to offer hope when there seems to be none. This is what makes her writing so deeply attractive, transformative and satisfying.'
Julia Stirling, The Big Issue
'It's a bracing, unsentimental and often very funny full-length debut, and if the post-hippy aimlessness of Rich and Sandy is sometimes too soft a target, there is still spiky, uncompromising Sophie, forced to find reserves of strength and forgiveness for her two infuriatingly childlike parents.'
Patrick Ness, The Guardian (UK)
'The best Australian novel of 2009 — in my humble opinion. Acclaimed for her short stories, Kennedy's reach in this terrific story of a teenage girl and her long-separated and disastrously inept parents never exceeds her grasp.'
Kate Veitch, The Week
'The World Beneath is the first novel by Cate Kennedy, often cited as Australia's queen of the short story. In the longer format Kennedy doesn't disappoint, delivering her characters with unnerving accuracy — the disdain of a teenager, the searing frustration of a man whose life has passed him by — while the Tasmanian wilderness looms as vividly as anyone else on the page.'
Time Out Sydney
'The World Beneath is a rare combination of a pacy, gripping plot with very real characters and spare, elegant writing. Beautifully observed, Kennedy's novel is painfully honest about the ways in which family members hurt — and heal — each other.' FOUR STARS
'A stunning book with a heart-stopping climax.'
Woman's Day [Read of the Week]
'Undeniably one of Australia's finest writers, Cate Kennedy continues her reputation for gripping stories that leave you questioning your own life and those within it, with The World Beneath ... Kennedy creates a plot filled with intrigue, fear, betrayal, lost love, disillusion and redemption.'
'Cate Kennedy is a brilliant storyteller. She possesses the power to find in ordinary lives their poetic and mythic dimensions and to remind us that vernacular speech and everyday experiences betoken the tender mysteries that lie beneath family life.'
'The World Beneath is pitch perfect, an exquisite story of an estranged middle-aged couple and their alluring, disenchanted daughter, of a family in wilderness. Cate Kennedy inhabits these characters so sensually and truly, exploring souls that feel like our own. If she doesn't touch your heart, it may be you don't have one.'
David Francis, author of Stray Dog Winter
'The vast terrain of relationships and family ties proves to be as much uncharted territory as the Tasmanian wilderness that Cate Kennedy describes with such stunning clarity. Here, ordinary lives are caught in a compelling story that grips tight until its exhilarating end. She exposes the perilous gap between ideal and delusion, between noble aspiration and mere ambition, against a mighty landscape that remains unpredictable despite the reverence it receives. I read the final third with a sense of thrilling fear, for the characters' plights, for the hazards created by both their actual and emotional insecurity.'
Debra Adelaide, author of The Household Guide to Dying
'We set off at a cracking pace deep into the wilderness of family relationships, confronting parenthood, middle age and the whole business of being an adult. We come out of the Tasmanian rainforest exhilarated that we made the journey, marvelling all the while at Cate Kennedy's masterly storytelling.'
'A riveting family drama played out in Tasmania's wilderness. Kennedy has made a seamless transition from award-winning short story writer to breathtaking novelist.'