Publication Date: 09/03/2023 ISBN: 9781529389821 Category:

The Sun Walks Down

Fiona McFarlane

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 09/03/2023 ISBN: 9781529389821 Category:


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‘A blazing mystery . . . tremendous’ Guardian

‘Moving and masterful’ Daily Mail

‘Masterful storytelling’ Washington Post

‘Brilliant, fresh and compulsively readable. It is marvellous’ Ann Patchett

‘Remarkable’ Harper’s


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

Publisher Review

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 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 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 *

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