Culture Street

Books

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

On July 22, 2013

By Sophia Whitfield

Evie Wyld’s first novel, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice, won a raft of awards. Since her debut novel Wyld has been widely applauded for her skill as a novelist securing herself a well deserved place on the Granta’s list of best British novelists under the age of 40.

Although she now lives and works in London, Wyld was brought up on a sugar-cane farm in northern NSW. Her upbringing informs this novel with detailed description of Australia’s rugged land. Sheep, spiders and carpet snakes all make appearances along with Australian men, none of whom you would want to go home with.

Jake Whyte, the main protagonists, narrates her fractured story. The novel opens in the present with Jake living alone in an old farmhouse on an isolated English island. Her only companion is Dog and occasionally Don, the former owner, who makes brief appearances. She is mistrusted by the locals for not integrating within their small community.

Strange things begin happening to the sheep on her farm and she is convinced that there is a presence watching her, killing her flock. As Jake grapples with these strange happenings her former life unfolds, a life of struggle and despair.

The tale switches from present day on the island to the past in Australia, a past Jake is clearly fleeing from. Narrated by Jake in non-chronological order she reveals her estrangement from her family, her life as a sheep shearer, the only woman referred to constantly as a bloke, and her flight from prostitution into the arms of Otto, a man who kidnaps her and keeps her for himself.  Wyld’s skill as a storyteller brings all the strands of Jake’s story together in a puzzle that when pieced together uncovers the character of Jake Whyte, justifying her behaviour in the present.

All the Birds, Singing, an upbeat title that defies the book’s content, is a dark tale set to the backdrop of a rugged, harsh land. The complex structure of the novel is deftly handled by Wyld. Much is left unanswered; with gaps the reader must fill heightening the suspense. It is an intriguing novel and one of the literary must reads of the year.

You Might Also Like

Books

Randy Susan Meyers selects Five Books of Influence

The drama of Randy Susan Meyers' novels is informed by her past work with criminal offenders and families impacted by emotional and family violence, as well as through years spent...

On August 7, 2013

Books

Shonda Rhimes to pen 'Yes' book

Shonda Rhimes ‘s first book is all about saying ‘Yes’. Entertainment Weekly reports the creator of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder...

On June 4, 2015

Books

Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie

Sophie McKenzie is the award-winning author of YA fiction. Close My Eyes is her first adult novel and launches her as a new name to watch in the increasingly popular...

On June 11, 2013
 

Books

Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver

By Sophia Whitfield

On May 18, 2015

Books

The fascinating Richard Tulloch, children's author, palywright and travel writer, selects his Five Books of Influence

Richard Tulloch has written more than 50 children's books, including Stories from our House, Beastly Tales and the popular Weird Stuff series of novels. As well as books Tulloch has...

On May 2, 2013

Books

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

By Sophia Whitfield

On September 26, 2016
 
Copyright © 2012 - 2020 Culture Street
Contact: info@culturestreet.com.au