All the Birds, Singing: Book summary and reviews of All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

All the Birds, Singing

by Evie Wyld

All the Birds, Singing
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2014
    240 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Searing... It is a testament to Wyld's vivid storytelling that readers will feel determined to drag themselves through her tale's more unsavory moments to its final revelation." - Publishers Weekly

"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

"Wyld has ordained a permanently dark life for her protagonist, a stubborn fate that offsets the surprises and the reader's enjoyment." - Kirkus

"A tremendous achievement... A dark, powerfully disturbing and beautifully observed story... almost Nabokovian in its structural intricacy." - New Statesman (UK)

"Outstanding... Evie Wyld is the real thing... She reconfigures the conventions of storytelling with a sure-footedness and ambition which belie her age... Quite as good as Ian McEwan's early fiction." - The Spectator (UK)

"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." - Financial Times(UK)

"An intensely involving tale of survival, shot through with Wyld's distinctive wit... An indelible and atmospheric novel that will have the hairs on the back of your neck working overtime." - Daily Mail(UK)

"For once, the hype matches the talent... Wyld's writing seems to come from somewhere deep somewhere a little bit unnerving." - The Sunday Times(UK)

"Vividly drawn... When the birds do 'sing,' and Jake's primal tragedy is revealed, it is clever and very unexpected indeed." - The Guardian(UK)

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Cloggie Downunder

A brilliant read
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.

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Author Information

Evie Wyld Author Biography

Photo: Fiona Fletcher

Evie Wyld was born in London and grew up in Australia and South London. She studied creative writing at Bath Spa and Goldsmiths University. Her first novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, the Commonwealth Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin literary award. In 2013 she was included on Granta Magazine's once a decade Best of Young British Novelists list.

Her second novel All the Birds, Singing won the Miles Franklin Award, the Encore Award and the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Prize, the James Tait Black Prize and the Sky Arts Times Breakthrough Award and longlisted for the Stella Prize and the Bailey's Women's Prize for ...

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