All the Birds, Singing

All the Birds, Singing

Book rating: 05 Hardback

By (author) Evie Wyld

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  • Publisher: Pantheon Books
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 145mm x 211mm x 36mm | 431g
  • Publication date: 15 April 2014
  • ISBN 10: 0307907767
  • ISBN 13: 9780307907769
  • Edition statement: New ed.
  • Sales rank: 28,465

Product description

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.

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Author information

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.

Customer reviews

By Marianne Vincent 04 Aug 2014 5

All The Birds, Singing is the second novel by British-Australian author, Evie Wyld, and winner of the 2014 Miles Franklin Literary Award. The first narrative starts with Jake Whyte, currently living on an unnamed British island, finding a second of her sheep dead and mutilated, and wondering whether foxes, some other wildlife or the local teens are to blame. Jake's isolated existence, with only her dog, Dog, and her herd of sheep for company, puzzles the locals. The second narrative starts some three years earlier, with Jake part of a sheep-shearing troupe in Western Australia. It seems that Jake is on the run from something or someone: just who is Otto? And why does Jake have scars on her back? What knowledge is it that another shearer tries to hold over her? The hints and clues will have the reader intrigued as to the events in Jake's past that have led to her current situation. Astute readers will quickly realise that the events occurring in Australia are told in reverse order. With her evocative descriptions, Wyld sets her scenes, both the isolated, cold British island and the hot, dusty West Australian outback, with consummate ease. Her plot has twists that eventually reveal hidden depths and flaws in the prickly Jake the world is shown. While some of the subject matter can be quite confronting, there is also subtle humour contained in Wyld's prose. A brilliant read.

Review quote

Reviews from the UK "Completely and utterly monumental." --BBC Radio 4 "Wyld reconfigures the conventions of storytelling with a sure-footedness and ambition which belie her age . . . What makes the book so outstanding is the beauty and simplicity of the writing . . . Second novels are notoriously difficult to pull off, especially when the first received prizes, but this one is terrific. Wyld's two books are quite as good as Ian McEwan's early fiction. Expect to hear her name often from now on . . . Evie Wyld is the real thing." --"The Spectator " "Powerfully original." --"Times Literary Supplement" "Extraordinarily accomplished, one of those books that tears around in your cerebellum like a dark firework, and which, upon finishing, you immediately want to pick up again . . . For all its darknesses "All the Birds, Singing "gleams with humour and kindness, moments of humanity that redeem almost everyone in the book." --"Financial Times" "At once energetic and dark . . . Vividly drawn . . . When the birds do 'sing, ' and Jake's primal tragedy is revealed, it is clever and very unexpected indeed." --"The Guardian" "Unsettling, beautiful, horrifying and moving in equal parts, I haven't read anything quite like "All the Birds, Singing "for a long time . . . In the flawed but vulnerable character of Jake, she's created someone you can't help but care for, root for and desperately want the best for . . . There is no disputing the power of the story and the beauty of Wyld's writing. It's an extraordinary book." --"Stylist" " " "Some novels are crafted with such care that it seems a shame reviewers should get to paw them before readers have the chance to admire their intricacy . . . Wyld keeps us guessing for the length of this ingeniously constructed narrative." --"Literary Review" "For once, the hype matches the talent . . . Wyld's writing seems to come from somewhere deep; somewhere a little bit unnerving and odd."