This novel approaches the likes of Voss and A Fringe of Leaves as Australian literature of a superior kind. Certainly, Holland’s spartan prose style and compelling descriptions of the outback environment are a dazzling combination … One may well rank with the best Australia has to offer in 2016.
Dean Biron, Australian Book Review June- July 2016
The simple narrative is deceptive, as it allows Holland to bring in a wealth of themes, from the abhorrent violence of Australian colonisation, to the moral choices we are asked to make when the law is almost non-existent. But probably most telling is Holland’s focus on the last bushrangers in Australia, turning the brothers into a metaphor for the inevitable change of time. The Kenniffs spend a lot of their time on the outskirts, in towns civilisation hasn’t yet reached, but they know it’s coming and it is in part responsible for their unravelling.
This is the seventh book by Patrick Holland, who is quietly eking out his place as one of this country’s most accomplished writers. Each of his books is sure-footed and incredibly interesting, and with One he has definitely retained this reputation.
Chris Somerville, Readings Monthly, April 2016
It sounds raw and confronting, but One is a thoughtful novel that begs the question: what is the law and what makes it work so that people can feel safe and secure in their lives? And also, what can society offer to support those who are ready to choose repentance and rehabilitation?
Lisa Hill, ANZ Lit Lovers
April 15, 2016 https://anzlitlovers.com/2016/04/15/one-by-patrick-holland/
The most distinctive feature of One is Holland’s addictive, sparse style. He can evoke the roaring openness of the outback in a sentence and his tight dialogue is revealing and real. Holland’s minimalist prose ushers you urgently through a thrillingly unique and morally tense Australian historical novel. Four stars
Angus Dalton, Good Reading Magazine April 2016
This is a book about mythology and tall tales, and a country still deeply enamoured of these narratives. The Kenniffs are both feared and revered, their exploits regarded as near-magical by an exhausted nation. “People who don’t know either of those boys from a bar of soap will hate me for it,” says Nixon late in the novel, capturing the country’s continued fascination with the outlaw lifestyle. Despite the occasional misstep, One is as singular and focused as its title.
Adam Rivett, The Australian 21 May 2016
Holland is aiming for beauty. “I’m trying to strip out anything the reader can fill in for themselves and doesn’t add any poetry. The composer Arvo Part said one note played beautifully is enough.”
As a reminder of Part’s aesthetic precept Holland placed the word “one” at the top of the manuscript, and no one is more surprised than the author that it squirrelled its way into the story’s very DNA. One man single-mindedly pursues the Kenniff gang to the ridgetop, one gang member stays his ground, one lone tracker breaches the hideout, and one love unites hunter and prey.
Linda Morris, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age 27 May 2016