The international bestselling author of Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton returns with a glorious novel destined to become another Australian classic. 'A glinting, big-hearted miracle of a book' Richard Glover
'A work of shimmering originality and energy, with extraordinary characters and a clever, thrilling plot ... unputdownable' Sydney Morning Herald
Darwin, 1942, and as Japanese bombs rain down, motherless Molly Hook, the gravedigger's daughter, is looking to the skies and running for her life. Inside a duffel bag she carries a stone heart, alongside a map to lead her to Longcoat Bob, the deep-country sorcerer who she believes put a curse on her family. By her side are the most unlikely travelling companions: Greta, a razor-tongued actress, and Yukio, a fallen Japanese fighter pilot. The treasure lies before them, but close behind them trails the dark. And above them, always, are the shimmering skies.
A story about gifts that fall from the sky, curses we dig from the earth and the secrets we bury inside ourselves, All Our Shimmering Skies is an odyssey of true love and grave danger, of darkness and light, of bones and blue skies. It is a love letter to Australia and an ode to the art of looking up – a buoyant, beautiful and magical novel, abrim with warmth, wit and wonder.
'Dalton is an author of 19th-century expansiveness, one with a sense that intelligence, talent for characterisation and sheer narrative brio can still be the whole cloth of the writer's ambition ... it is storytelling manna, fallen straight from the Territorian skies.' The Australian
'Achingly beautiful and poetic in its melancholy, All Our Shimmering Skies is a majestic and riveting tale of curses and the true meaning of treasure.' Booklist, starred review
'As Australian as outback red dirt and as universal as the sky young Molly Hook's journey takes place beneath, All Our Shimmering Skies is an open-hearted wonder, by turns heartbreaking and full of hope, no less than an instant classic' Venero Armanno
'Australia has a new literary hero. Molly Hook – part Cordelia, part Jo March, part Pippi Longstocking – pulls us into a story and a landscape that is mythic, beguiling and almost hallucinatory in its beauty. And instantly recognisable as our own' Kristina Olsson
'This is storytelling at its absolute purest, a truly courageous expression of longing, hope and love … against unimaginable odds' Asher Keddie
'All Our Shimmering Skies is the follow-up to Boy Swallows Universe we could have never imagined, but the one Dalton was destined to gift us. It's a story of heroes and villains, foxes and water buffalo, fighter planes and birds of prey, real magic and real love, epitaphs and aphorisms, lost treasure and lost life. It's a love letter to the nation. It's your favourite childhood adventure story dictated by Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and William Shakespeare, with a score by Franz Liszt. It's dead serious. It's completely ridiculous. It's all of these things and more' Booktopia
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Considering the commercial and critical success of his debut, Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton had much to live up to with his follow-up novel. He delivered. All Our Shimmering Skies is a wonderful, moving Australian adventure that begins in 1942 with Molly Hook, a curious young Darwin girl with a spiritual connection to the sky, who embarks on a cross-country quest as WWII destroys her hometown. Dalton’s depiction of the outback is so vivid, you can almost taste the sunburnt earth, and he brilliantly brings to life Molly and her companions. The energy of his writing carries us along on their journey; we empathise with his heroes, mourn their tragedies and feel revulsion towards the abusive, evil characters they encounter. Hilarious at times, heartbreaking at others, Dalton’s second book is as much an instant classic as his first.
Dalton (Boy Swallows Universe) delivers a spellbinding saga of survival and transformation in WWII Australia. Before seven-year-old Molly Hook's mother dies, she makes Molly promise to make her heart as rock-hard as her surroundings adding that Molly can always find her up in the sky, "where the best gifts come from." In the first of many fabulist moments, Molly's grandfather Tom Berry's gold-prospecting pan appears as if fallen from the clouds; it's inscribed with riddles that will guide her to an Aboriginal elder, Longcoat Bob, who the family believed had cursed them for Tom's theft of gold from Bob's ancestral lands. Molly excitedly takes it home, where her hard-drinking gold hunter turned gravedigger father, Horace, slugs her in the jaw and her uncle Aubrey throws away the pan, behavior Molly attributes to the curse. Five years after her mother's death, a Japanese bombing raid kills Horace and destroys their house, and Molly flees with Aubrey's girlfriend in search of Longcoat Bob. Along the way, a stranded Japanese fighter pilot becomes their protector, and the three continue on a quest marked by trials and wonders while being pursued by Aubrey. Dalton provides exquisite descriptions of deserts, waterfalls, mazes of stone monoliths, and Aboriginal cave paintings, and creates a courageous, unsentimental heroine in Molly. This is a wonder.
Brilliant writing needs to be read twice over
Impossible to take in the whole plot at first read, but a slower re-read brings clarity and extra delight in the writing and joy in the natural world in the Northern Territory
More more more
A true writer.
I knew it would be incredible, but wow
I knew this book would overcome me, that I would be completely consumed by it and I was right. I was completely transfixed by molly hook, by Greta maze and Yukio., who i so desperately wanted to live happily ever after. The description of the Australian bush, the respect for the aboriginal people in every word, and the almost unbearable anguish you can’t help but feel for Molly’s plight... a beautiful amazing story. As amazing as boy swallows universe, but more delicate, definitely more graceful.
Thank you for your beautiful work that will stay with me also, forever. Now that I’ve skimmed along it at 1000kmph, I am going back to saviour it more slowly, all over again.