The Sun Walks Down
'Steinbeckian majesty' - Sunday Times
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Published: 9th Mar '23
Available, normally delivered within 3-6 days.
A magnificent novel by the prize-winning author of The Night Guest and The High Places, an epic tale of unsettlement, history, myth, art and love - and of a small boy lost in the Australian desert.
'A blazing mystery . . . tremendous' Guardian
'Moving and masterful' Daily Mail
'Masterful storytelling' Washington Post
'Brilliant, fresh and compulsively readable. It is marvellous' Ann Patchett
A MASTERFUL NOVEL BY THE PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR OF THE NIGHT GUEST AND THE HIGH PLACES, AN EPIC TALE OF UNSETTLEMENT, HISTORY, MYTH, LOVE AND ART.
In September 1883, a small town in the South Australian outback huddles under strange, vivid sunsets. Six-year-old Denny Wallace has gone missing during a dust storm, and the entire community is caught up in the search for him. As they scour the desert and mountains for the lost child, the residents of Fairly - newlyweds, landowners, farmers, mothers, artists, Indigenous trackers, cameleers, children, schoolteachers, widows, maids, policemen - confront their relationships with each other and with the ancient landscape they inhabit.
The colonial Australia of The Sun Walks Down is unfamiliar, multicultural, and noisy with opinions, arguments, longings and terrors. It's haunted by many gods - the sun among them, rising and falling on each day in which Denny could be found, or lost forever.
'McFarlane's treatment of the dust storm has a simple Steinbeckian majesty . . . Her prose is full of detail, comparable to Claire Keegan's keen-eyed novellas, Foster and Small Things Like These' Sunday Times
'A thrilling success . . . full of mystery and wonder' Wall Street Journal
'Fiona McFarlane's last book was scintillating. The Sun Walks Down is even better' Sarah Moss
'Gorgeous storytelling and superb characters . . . magnificent' Michelle de Kretser
'I can't think of another writer working today who I admire more' Kevin Powers
'Gloriously orchestrated . . . kaleidoscopic in the Victorian tradition, as much a portrait of a community as Middlemarch . . . McFarlane knows what she's doing, and she does it exceptionally well' Irish Times
Fiona McFarlane's last book was scintillating. The Sun Walks Down is even better. It's compelling: old-fashioned in all the best ways, historically sensitive, generous in storytelling and yet modern and sharp -- Sarah Moss
The Sun Walks Down is the book I'm always longing to find: brilliant, fresh and compulsively readable. It is marvellous. I loved it from start to finish. -- Ann Patchett
Gorgeous storytelling and superb characters are among the glories of The Sun Walks Down. Fiona McFarlane is an extraordinary writer, one of the best working today. Her magnificent reworking of the lost child story showcases the profound understanding she brings to people, places and the past. I lived in this wise, majestic novel for days and never wanted it to end. -- Michelle de Kretser
An exceptional, multi-layered historical novel with a beautifully styled plot. The power with which Fiona McFarlane evokes the place and time is extraordinary - a gorgeously written book. -- Evie Wyld
Quite simply, the best novel I've ever read about 19th-century Australia. A tense search for a lost child unfolds with rising dread against a landscape of harsh and radiant beauty, amid lives as tangled as barbed wire. -- Geraldine Brooks
Mesmerising . . . It's a story with the quality of a myth or fable, that somehow manages to seem both restrained and infinite at once. And if that's all sounding a bit hoity-toity, be assured it's an engrossing mystery * Sydney Morning Herald *
The Sun Walks Down is a brilliant, intimate epic, a book about a family and also about history that is full of heart and heat. Fiona McFarlane's ear for the gurgles and clamor and hidden symphonies of her characters' souls is flawless; the way their lives intertwine is propulsive, heartbreaking. She is, simply, one of the best writers around. -- Elizabeth McCracken
The Sun Walks Down is a revelation. McFarlane places her lens first over the disappearance of a small boy in the Australian Outback and zooms out, weaving the stories of the people involved in the search for him into a tapestry as richly imagined and fully realized as anything I've read in recent memory. Her sentences fit together with the beauty of fine carpentry, and with them she's constructed a novel that calls to my mind no less than Patrick White's The Tree of Man. I can't think of another writer working today who I admire more -- Kevin Powers
This tale of a farming community's search for a missing child offers intimate human drama, ruminations on the intersections of art and life, and a sweeping, still relevant view of race and class in Australia . . . A masterpiece of riveting storytelling * Kirkus *
Taut, rich, intelligent and mesmerizing * ABC News *
With a child missing in remote Australia, this may sound like any recent 'outback noir' thriller - but McFarlane's beautifully written second novel has much more in common with Lanny by Max Porter or Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor: all vibrant, otherworldly stories of a small community in flux, discombobulated by a singular tragedy * Guardian Australia *
An extraordinary work of fiction that I have no doubt will become a classic of Australian literature -- Emily Bitto
The Sun Walks Down is that rare kind of novel, where there is something to enjoy and admire on every page. McFarlane's elegant, sharply observed prose beautifully conjures an unforgettable time and place -- Carys Davies, author of West and The Mission House
In precise, often glorious prose, the novel affords each character, including little Denny, a rich interiority, even as the landscape itself - a terrain layered with significance and myth for aboriginal peoples, while for Europeans "civilization" there appears thin - provokes awe . . . With this remarkable novel, McFarlane establishes her place in the firmament of Australian letters, reworking and expanding the imaginary of its early years -- Claire Messud * Harper's *
McFarlane's treatment of the dust storm has a simple Steinbeckian majesty . . . Her prose is full of detail, comparable to Claire Keegan's keen-eyed novellas, Foster and Small Things Like These. -- Claire Lowdon * Sunday Times *
A sensitive, slow-burn panorama of society in colonial Australia. Moving persuasively between a vast, impressively diverse array of characters, young and old, incoming and indigenous, privileged and deprived, she lets us listen in on their private (often competing) hopes and desires as the community pulls together to hunt for the boy. The result is moving and masterful - rich slices of life made vivid by the old-fashioned nitty-gritty of flesh-and blood character-making -- Anthony Cummins * Daily Mail *
A thrilling success . . . A novel full of mystery and wonder' * Wall Street Journal *
A blazing mystery set in the colonial outback . . . The writing is tremendous . . . This is a beguiling novel, not just of ideas about history and place but of fiercely beautiful translations -- Elizabeth Lowry * Guardian *
A new book from Fiona McFarlane is exciting . . . compelling . . . gloriously orchestrated . . . kaleidoscopic in the Victorian tradition, as much a portrait of a community as Middlemarch or North and South, and like its forebears whirls the reader through the interior narratives and households of characters from across the social spectrum . . . This book earns its place by the simultaneous seriousness and playfulness of its commitment to all the voices in the contested times and spaces of its setting. McFarlane knows what she's doing, and she does it exceptionally well' -- Sarah Moss * Irish Times *
Masterful storytelling . . . Tension mounts every time tragedy looms or disaster strikes. We read on with queasy dread when the spotlight falls on frightened and exhausted Denny . . . But we also read on captivated by the novel's beautiful prose and polyphonic voices, and marveling at both its epic scope and rare intimacy * Washington Post *
Dimensions: 236mm x 162mm x 36mm