27 January 2015

Tournament of Books 2015: Evie Wyld, ALL THE BIRDS, SINGING

In British-Australian author Evie Wyld's second novel, an Australian woman running from the trauma of her past finds it more difficult than she could imagine to get along without the help she doesn't want. 

When we first meet Jake, she is tending to a sheep flock on her own, distressed at the unseen predator who keeps picking them off. How she got to be a lone stakeholder, resistant even to the farm's old owner's offers of help without strings, is revealed in successive chapters that move backward in time from her last post as the only female sheep shearer, all the way back to what caused her to leave home -- alternating with her search for the sheep killer and the arrival, on her farm, of a mysterious drifter.

I credit the Tournament of Books for connecting me to this book, which didn't grab me at first but steadily drilled into my soul and made it excruciating to look away from. In the end, one reason I liked this book was, not to play misery Olympics here, but when I talk and read about the ordinary perils of sexism, I am not considering situations as drastic as Jake finds herself in through the course of the book. The perspective offered by having to put myself in Jake's shoes, which sometimes was nerve-wracking along the scale of a horror movie, was part of the experience of reading, and now I need to find someone else who has read this book to talk about its ending. (I found it puzzling but somehow fitting?)

1 comment:

j.thrift said...

I just started it last night, but I have 5 days to finish it before it's due back. Hopefully I can pull it off without library fines! I will check back with you.