road train in Australia

The other half of the novel is set in Australia.

Unlike the British sections of the book, here the atmosphere is hot, rugged, and often unbearably oppressive. However, like the British sections, there is danger, much danger . . . and it lurks everywhere.

I don’t want to give away what happens in the novel All the Birds, Singing, by Evie Wyld, but I will say that it had me unremittently engrossed. Have you noticed that many books start spectacularly, but then peter out, leaving one with a tainted and slightly abused feeling by the end? (“What was the point of that?” you think to yourself. “Why did I read this? The author couldn’t think of a better ending than that?”)

This is not one of those books. Wyld takes us on—well, on a wild ride. The story builds and builds and builds . . . and keeps on building all the way to the explosive and powerful and deeply affective end.

Moreover, All the Birds, Singing has a unique structure; the story is told in a format I do not recall seeing before. It’s original and creative and unexpected, and it’s also fitting and effective and expertly crafted. Reading it was at first a puzzle to be solved, as I struggled to understand the sequence of events; and then, once I had figured it out, it was a joy to journey through, deeper and deeper.

At one point, the protagonist is standing on the side of an Australian road, and then this happens:

“Behind me I hear something coming on the highway and when I look it’s a road train. It honks loudly at the sight of my truck . . . my wing mirror bounces and then smashes on the bitumen.”

Just so, this interesting chapter closes. And although I did not learn what I wished to learn at that point—I would have to make it to the end of the novel for that—I did learn two new vocabulary terms.

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