Half of the novel is set on an island in Britain.
The wind always seems to be blowing there. The place always seems to be bristling with a coldness that pervades both the landscape and the spirit of the people. And something ominous always seems to be lurking . . . just out of sight, but never out of mind.
Take, for example, this passage from early on. Note the elements of wind, spiritual cold, and intangible foreboding:
“I turned the radio off and whistled tunelessly and loudly on my way up the stairs. On the landing a feather fluttered in a draught. I brushed my teeth and must’ve scraped over a mouth ulcer, because when I spat there was an impressive amount of blood. I washed it away and blew my nose and then rolled on an old T-shirt to sleep in. Dog collected himself at the foot of the bed, and we stared at each other a moment or two before I checked the hammer under my pillow and turned off the light.”
When reading this passage for the first time, the hammer took me by complete surprise. It’s one thing to feel a vague sense of dread, and quite another to actively prepare to attack.
It reminds me of a time when I was living alone and had some encounters with a couple of different men who were a bit strange, and who knew where I lived, but who, I assumed, were (very!) more than likely not intent on doing me harm—and then proceeded to make sure I knew where my pepper spray was, as well as, for some reason, to hide an old broom handle in my bedroom closet.
But that’s another story. For now, I’ll simply note that I feel this photo accurately depicts the mood of the novel All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld—that is, it depicts the mood of the British half of it.
Have you ever noticed that people’s last names are sometimes uncannily apropos?