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All Our Shimmering Skies Paperback – 28 September 2020
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- Publisher : HarperCollins AU (28 September 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1460753909
- ISBN-13 : 978-1460753903
- Dimensions : 15.5 x 2.8 x 23.5 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 25 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the Author
Trent Dalton is a staff writer for the Weekend Australian Magazine and a former assistant editor of The Courier Mail. He's a two-time winner of a Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism, a four-time winner of a Kennedy Award for Excellence in NSW Journalism and a four-time winner of the national News Awards Features Journalist of the Year. His debut novel, Boy Swallows Universe, published by HarperCollins in 2018, is a much-loved national bestseller and critically acclaimed, winning the 2019 Indie Book of the Year Award, the MUD Literary Prize, the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing and the People's Choice Award at the 2019 NSW Premier's Literary Awards. In addition, at the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards, the book won a record four ABIA Awards, including the prestigious Book of the Year Award. Boy Swallows Universe has been published across thirty-four English language and translation territories.
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Top reviews from Australia
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But Dalton’s second novel lacks its authenticity. BSU was gritty and raw and the mysticism perfectly balanced the earthiness. Maybe its autobiographical aspects were more vital than I realised.
Because his second novel underplays the relatable and ramps up the mystical, and you can see him trying on every page. After a while his affectatious references to the gravedigger girl, and the silver screen lady and the pilot who fell from the sky, and the elliptical conversations with the sky, and the run molly run, and the ludicrousness of 13yo uneducated Molly’s precocious knowledge of Walt Whitman and bush survival tips, and Yukio’s lack of English but word-perfect recall of Shakespearean dialogue, and the simplistic “hate” that served as explanation for all the bad guys’ behaviour, was all too much.
Add in Longcoat Bob, a bunch of inhuman lepers, a baby who falls from the sky, in fact all the “sky gifts”, a cave mouth shaped like a vagina for comic relief, and rambling unedited mythologising, and I thought Dalton was trying way too hard, even fearfully, to up the trajectory from his first hugely entertaining and truthful book.
Unfortunately also, the liberal too-clever splashes of “if you don’t master your fear, your fear will master you” “are you carrying the load or is the load carrying you?” eventually diluted down to formulaic pretentiousness.
Dammit, I was so looking forward to it as well. Maybe that was Dalton’s problem.
As a bonus, the landscape and people of the Top End, which Dalton describes with amazing clarity, will have us booking our tickets to experience first hand the wonders of Darwin and its surrounds.
This is a quintessential Australian novel destined to be a classic.
Top reviews from other countries
Descriptions are evocative without being maudlin. Characters are sympathetically and realistically developed.
An enjoyable and thought provoking read; one that will linger in the memory.