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All the Birds, Singing by [Wyld, Evie]
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All the Birds, Singing Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Length: 240 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Winner of the 2014 Miles Franklin Award

Who or what is watching Jake Whyte from the woods?

Jake Whyte is the sole resident of an old farmhouse on an unnamed island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. It's just her, her untamed companion, Dog, and a flock of sheep. Which is how she wanted it to be. But something is coming for the sheep - every few nights it picks one off, leaves it in rags.

It could be anything. There are foxes in the woods, a strange boy and a strange man, rumours of an obscure, formidable beast. And there is Jake's unknown past, perhaps breaking into the present, a story hidden thousands of miles away and years ago, in a landscape of different colour and sound, a story held in the scars that stripe her back.

Set between Australia and a remote English island, All the Birds, Singing is the story of one how one woman's present comes from a terrible past. It is the second novel from the award-winning author of After the Fire, A Still Small Voice.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 804 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: RHA eBooks Adult (1 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House Australia
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BVR9VZQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,335 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Greggorio! TOP 10 REVIEWER on 2 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The winner of the 2014 Miles Franklin Award is an epic snapshot of twentieth century civilisation, and is certainly a unique reading experience. The story focuses on single farmerette Ms Jake Whyte in her struggle for acceptance in the rugged outback of Australia, as well as rural England. She finds herself lost at sea in the ocean of sexual harassment and soul destroying loneliness. She has a boyfriend - fellow farm hand Greg - but whilst the two are active lovers, one feels that they could be closer on several levels than they are in the book's early stages.

Jake also struggles nightly with unwanted visitors. The reader as well as the book's main character is unsure of what form they take. Is he/ she human? Is it paranormal? That sounds ludicrous in its own right of course, but the world class story telling abilities of the author are on show here and her talents are obvious right from the beginning, so whilst such a supposed feature of the plot may well sound out of place, in the world that exists inside the book's covers, she makes everything totally believable.

And that includes the characters, both good and bad. We find ourselves attached to Farmerette Whyte, and her friends and allies by the end of chapter one. And so, too, will the reader develop strong emotions for the first bad character we come across. He is truly despicable, and in the book's first emotional highlight, he gets exactly what he deserves from our heroine and more besides, a few short chapters later.

The book is not overly long, with a print length of just 203 pages.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Every once in a while, a book comes along that is so good it makes you resent all the time spent reading inferior books.

All The Birds, Singing is one such book.

The novel comprises two stories. One is a woman running a farm on an un-named English island. Her sheep start to get attacked at night, and she gets the feeling that the perpetrator is not human... The other, frankly, more compelling story is of a young woman working on a remote sheep station in the Western Australian desert.

The stories interlink, but never overlap. The English island story is told in a conventional forward narrative whilst the Australian narrative presents a series of episodes that work backwards in time. This might sound tricksy, but it isn't. It just reads and flows very naturally.

The super strength of the novel is that whilst the description is tight and evocative, there are gaps between the chapters, lines between which so much can be read. The reader is invited to ask how on earth Jake, the lead female character in both stories, got from there to here (or from here to there in the backwards narrative). Relationships are ambiguous and might be clarified by a subsequent chapter, only to be left wide open again in the chapter afterwards. It is clear that Jake has a past, has secrets. Just enough of these is eventually revealed to make sense, but not enough to tie up all the loose ends. These loose ends will keep fraying and playing on the reader's mind, long after the final chapter.

The Australian narrative is superb; it would happily stand up to the classics in portraying the loneliness, hardship and macho culture of Outback Australia. It is set in contemporary times but could almost have been written at any point in the last 80 years or more.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Jake Whyte is a sheep farmer on a remote unnamed British island. All The Birds, Singing, this year's Miles Franklin award winner, opens with the discovery of a dead sheep. Something, or someone, is picking them off one by one and she doesn't think its a fox. Jake is a solitary character, avoiding everyone who lives in the local town, apart from Don, a farmer who sold her the property. Lloyd, a mysterious stranger comes to her farm and gradually Jake allows him to break down her self-imposed isolation.

But Jake has a backstory, far away in Australia, where she worked as a shearer, which is revealed in flashbacks told out of order. Jake is part of a shearing gang moving from one place to another and it becomes apparent that she's on the run from someone. Its also obvious early in the story that she's suffered a serious trauma and has left her family behind to work as a prostitute. The flashbacks slowly piece together her past, leaving the reader guessing as to what is the event that has inflicted so much suffering on her. It's only revealed in the climax, which is heart-wrenching.

This is a very cleverly constructed narrative that left me guessing all the way as to what had happened to Jake. The writing itself is plain but beautifully evokes both the rainy English countryside and the dry harshness of the Australian outback. Wyld also has a great ear for the Australian vernacular and the story reads as though she actually did work as a shearer, so accurate are her descriptions of how that incredibly skilled job works.

But the tight control over the characters and story left me feeling a bit dissatisfied. The present story in England didn't generate the same sense of suspense as the backstory, which made me eager to read the latter and skip quickly over the former.
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