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{ "item_title" : "The Sun Walks Down", "item_author" : [" Fiona McFarlane "], "item_description" : "Short-Listed for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical FictionNamed a Top 10 Best Book of the Year by The Wall Street JournalNamed a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus and Chicago Public LibraryThe Sun Walks Down is the book I'm always longing to find: brilliant, fresh, and compulsively readable. It is marvelous. I loved it start to finish. --Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House Fiona McFarlane's blazingly brilliant new novel, The Sun Walks Down, tells the many-voiced, many-sided story of a boy lost in colonial Australia. 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, farmers, mothers, Indigenous trackers, cameleers, children, artists, schoolteachers, widows, maids, policemen--confront their relationships, both with one another and with the land-scape they inhabit. The colonial Australia of The Sun Walks Down is 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. Told in many ways and by many voices, Fiona McFarlane's new novel pulses with love, art, and the unbearable divine. It arrives like a vision, mythic and bright with meaning.", "item_img_path" : "https://covers2.booksamillion.com/covers/bam/0/37/460/623/0374606234_b.jpg", "price_data" : { "retail_price" : "28.00", "online_price" : "28.00", "our_price" : "28.00", "club_price" : "28.00", "savings_pct" : "0", "savings_amt" : "0.00", "club_savings_pct" : "0", "club_savings_amt" : "0.00", "discount_pct" : "10", "store_price" : "28.00" } }
The Sun Walks Down|Fiona McFarlane
The Sun Walks Down
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Overview

Short-Listed for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
Named a Top 10 Best Book of the Year by The Wall Street Journal
Named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus and Chicago Public Library

"The Sun Walks Down is the book I'm always longing to find: brilliant, fresh, and compulsively readable. It is marvelous. I loved it start to finish." --Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House Fiona McFarlane's blazingly brilliant new novel, The Sun Walks Down, tells the many-voiced, many-sided story of a boy lost in colonial Australia. 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, farmers, mothers, Indigenous trackers, cameleers, children, artists, schoolteachers, widows, maids, policemen--confront their relationships, both with one another and with the land-scape they inhabit. The colonial Australia of The Sun Walks Down is 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. Told in many ways and by many voices, Fiona McFarlane's new novel pulses with love, art, and the unbearable divine. It arrives like a vision, mythic and bright with meaning.

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374606237
  • ISBN-10: 0374606234
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publish Date: February 2023
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Page Count: 352

Related Categories

While a child’s disappearance can shock a community into coming together, it’s also the kind of event that can reveal fissures among residents, heighten conflicts within families and prompt reevaluations of relationships. Fiona McFarlane explores these possibilities and more in her leisurely novel The Sun Walks Down.

In 1883, the potential tragedy of a 6-year-old boy’s disappearance strikes the town of Fairly in “the arid middle of South Australia.” This Outback region is known for dust storms, hilly ranges that were “laid down, long ago and slowly, in layers of rock,” and a sun so red and fierce that the boy in question fears “the gods must be angry.” The boy is Denny Wallace. His mother, Mary, deaf since age 22, sends him out with a sack to gather bark and twigs while his five sisters attend a wedding and his father, Mathew, plants parsnips. But Denny gets lost in a dust storm and doesn’t return home.

The bulk of McFarlane’s novel focuses on the efforts of the townspeople to help the Wallaces look for their son and the stories of the family members left behind as the search continues. This includes Minna Baumann and Mounted Constable Robert Manning, whose wedding was attended by Denny’s sisters; 15-year-old Cissy Wallace, Denny’s oldest sister, who doesn’t understand why the other women won’t join the search party and who secretly falls in love with Robert; Bess and Karl Rapp, Swedish artists fascinated by the reds in “this disastrous South Australian sky”; and Mr. Daniels, a courtly vicar prone to fainting spells.

The Sun Walks Down should be read not for narrative action but rather for the minutely observed relationships among its characters, as Denny’s disappearance is less of a mystery than it is a plot device that allows McFarlane to explore her themes. She does this beautifully, such as when she depicts the relations between white people and Australia’s native Aboriginal people, the wayward behavior that can come from an excess of ambition, and the question of who does and does not constitute a British subject.

“Don’t you like people to be happy?” Denny’s sister Joy asks Cissy. “Happiness won’t find Denny,” Cissy replies. As McFarlane makes clear in this fine work, the quest for contentment can be as elusive as a 6-year-old lost in a dust storm. 

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