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All the Birds, Singingby Evie Wyld
Carefully spooling out its story, both forwards and backwards, All the Birds, Singing tells the tale of Jake Whyte, a woman on the run who finds herself on an Australian sheep farm. Jake's past is slowly inching into the light of discovery, while her present is haunted by something that is systematically killing her sheep. The heat of the Australian outback — steamy, languid, and stifling — is a claustrophobic setting for this tense story. Moody and pensive, All the Birds, Singing will keep you up late racing toward the end.
Synopses & Reviews
From one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists, a stunningly insightful, emotionally powerful new novel about an outsider haunted by an inescapable past: a story of loneliness and survival, guilt and loss, and the power of forgiveness.
Jake Whyte is living on her own in an old farmhouse on a craggy British island, a place of ceaseless rain and battering wind. Her disobedient collie, Dog, and a flock of sheep are her sole companions, which is how she wants it to be. But every few nights something — or someone — picks off one of the sheep and sounds a new deep pulse of terror. There are foxes in the woods, a strange boy and a strange man, and rumors of an obscure, formidable beast. And there is also Jake’s past, hidden thousands of miles away and years ago, held in the silences about her family and the scars that stripe her back — a past that threatens to break into the present. With exceptional artistry and empathy, All the Birds, Singing reveals an isolated life in all its struggles and stubborn hopes, unexpected beauty, and hard-won redemption.
“Daring and fierce, this is a book that makes you feel the need to look over your shoulder in case something dark and hulking might be gaining on you....Brilliantly unsettling.” Boston Globe
“Masterful.” The New Yorker
“Purely gorgeous....Writing with assurance and just enough embedded clues to help us understand what she is doing, Wyld ramps up the tension....There’s love as well as dread in this book, a surprising sort of love — the best kind of all.” Washington Post
“Wickedly captivating....It’s a testament to Wyld’s nimble talent that she pulls off the trick [of the structure] so successfully....It’s nearly impossible not to get swept up in the game of merging the two stories....Think Room or Winter’s Bone–style creepy.” San Francisco Chronicle
“Utterly gripping...All the Birds, Singing has the brisk pacing of a well-thumbed pocket paperback found in a summer cottage, and yet it’s the sort of book that gets listed as a best book of the year....The success of The Goldfinch was a perfect test case.” Salon
“Tantalizes....The prose maintains a fine-tuned ominous mood.” New York Times
“Gloriously gruesome....Half of you wants to race through to find out what happens, half wants to pause over the dark, clotted sentences. And then the state of suspense becomes almost unbearable, and you rush through, feeling like you are sprinting through a museum of sinister curiosities, too frightened to linger....The final revelation, when it comes, is explosive.” NPR.org
“Wyld teasingly leads readers to the mysterious incident Jake is trying to escape....Pungent with menace.” Wall Street Journal
“Extraordinary....The conclusion of the novel, when the reveal is delivered with a powerful punch, [is] like something out of an Alice Munro story.” Kirkus Reviews
“A riveting novel....Jake is both haunted by the past and struggling with the present, and the intensity of Wyld’s sharp novel grows as the two threaten to collide.” Booklist
“Ingeniously constructed.” Literary Review
“Don’t overlook Evie Wyld’s read-in-one-sitting All the Birds, Singing....Pass along after reading — some secrets are too good not to share.” W magazine
“Evie Wyld’s novels ask tough questions without seeking easy answers....Wyld excels in the intimate details that make up the relationship between humans and animals....Best of all are Jake’s interactions with dogs in the novel....Despite Jake’s gruff exterior, this is not a book about loneliness or even isolation. There are moments of connection and human kindness.” BookPage
About the Author
Evie Wyld grew up in Australia and London, where she currently resides. She has won the John Llewellyn-Rhys prize and a Betty Trask Award, and she has been short-listed for the Orange Award for New Writers, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and the Costa Novel Award.
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