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All the Birds, Singing

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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  2,209 ratings  ·  493 reviews
Jake Whyte is the sole resident of an old farmhouse on an unnamed British island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. It’s just her, her untamed companion, Dog, and a flock of sheep. Which is how she wanted it to be. But something is coming for the sheep – every few nights it picks one off, leaves it in rags.

It could be anything. There are foxes in the woods, a
...more
Hardcover, 229 pages
Published June 20th 2013 by Jonathan Cape
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Popular Answered Questions

Missyd Ryan - it makes sense sugar you're saying about Jake.... But if that's the case, what did Lloyd see at the end when they're holding hands?
Ryan I think it was Jake herself. She had psyched out and the whole novel was from the viewpoint of an un-reliable narrator... Jake

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
jake whyte is an australian who has emigrated to a remote island off the coast of england to live alone on an isolated sheep farm, with only a dog for company. jake whyte has nothing in common with this similarly-named individual



because she could probably snap him in half over one of her muscular thighs.

jake is a tall, big, strong woman with a troubled past, a deeply scarred back, and very good reasons for staying hidden. her only human contact is with don, the man from whom she bought the house
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Antonomasia
[3.5] I wonder what people who read more thrillers will make of All the Birds, Singing. You may not have expected this to be a psychological thriller set on farms, what with the author being one of the Granta Best Young British Novelists, who looks very cool and works in a London bookshop, and the book's pretty cover with twee wonky lettering. (A case of coverflip? It's not something I see a lot of in my reading but this seems like one, and it suits the protagonist very poorly. The Australian co ...more
Douglas
Thanks to Goodreads and Knopf Books for the advance copy.

All the Birds, Singing is a mythical masterpiece. Thick with brooding imagery, this novel reminds me of Cormac McCarthy's prose.

I was hooked from the very first sentence:

“Another sheep, mangled and bled out, her innards not yet crusting and the vapours rising from her like a steamed pudding.”

Evie Wyld, one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists, tells the story of Jake Whyte, a young woman on the run from her past. Believing she’s esc
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Julie
More like a cacophony than birds singing
Disjointed storyline that jars.


I like a broken timeline, putting the past in perspective with the present, but with this novel it was like jagged edges. It was almost as if the author had written a linear narrative but taken to the manuscript with scissors and reconstructed the fragments. Rather than a slow suspense-building reveal, with the sins and horrors of the past coming to torment the present, it skated around shards of story poking through the fabr
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Blair
Bleak, unsettling, strange and wild: All the Birds, Singing is a weird and wonderful novel. The ambiguously-named Jake Whyte - actually a young woman, despite her name and profession - is a sheep farmer who lives alone on an isolated, windswept English island. When the story opens, she is standing over the body of a sheep that seems to have been ravaged by some predator: perhaps the work of local kids with nothing to do, or maybe something more sinister. Half the book deals with Jake's deliberat ...more
Ayelet Waldman
This book is almost fantastic. It builds beautifully, but what it builds to ultimately disappointed me.
☼♄Jülie

This is a powerful and affecting story about a very damaged soul, haunted by a tragic, inadequate past.
It is a journey through the nightmare that was to become Jake Whyte's life as she ran from the relentless pursuit of her past, finally seeking refuge in the safe isolation and seclusion of her own sheep farm, far, far away from her haunting past...or is it?

It seems that some lives are just destined to follow a relentlessly tragic path, and Jake's life appears to be traversing that very course,
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Diane S.
3.5 A novel that takes place on two continents, Australia where Jake originated from, and England where she ends up as a sheep rancher. Their is a pervasive sense of foreboding, tension and fear, from her past, where did she get those horrible scars on her back, and her present, where something is killing her sheep. It begins in the present and than in alternate chapter, her near past. It isn't until the ending that some of our questions are answered.

In the present Jake is a reticent women, does
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Kim

I decided to listen to the audiobook version of this novel after Evie Wyld was awarded the 2014 Miles Franklin Award, largely because before the announcement I'd heard of neither the author nor her work.

Evie Wyld is a young English-Australian writer and this is her second novel. It's part thriller, part psychological portrait and totally focussed on the central character, Jake Whyte, a reclusive Australian woman who raises sheep on an unnamed island off the west coast of England. Jake is haunte
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Rebecca Foster
The writing is certainly lyrical and atmospheric, but I had no real fondness for this book. I did admire Wyld’s successful interweaving of her two narratives: Jake Whyte’s lonely present life as a shepherdess battling unseen forces on an English island, and the retreating story of her sheep-shearing career in Australia, eventually giving the reasons why she’s been on the run more than once. I also enjoyed the parallels between her two lives, such as living with one strange man and a dubious dog. ...more
Cornelius Browne
Precious few first novels leave you genuinely curious about what a fledgling author might next produce, but among readers of Evie Wyld's After the Fire, A Still Small Voice there appears to have been agreement that here was a rather special beginning. Halfway through, I had cleared space for it on that imaginary shelf that housed such debuts as Ulverton, Housekeeping, The Wasp Factory, Joseph Smith's The Wolf, and Annie Proulx's Postcards; first novels as original, distinctive, and unexpected as ...more
Sally906
The best thing about this book was that it was short. The story started in the middle then sometimes went forward in the present, and then at other times it went backwards in the past. It was too disjointed and utterly confusing to let me get really invested in the story.

There moments where I was worried by the sanity (and as a result her reliability) of Jake, and I was also uncertain if the book was a mystery, fantasy or horror - it sort of touched on all of these but the book didn't seem to k
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Patricia
This is an interesting book that certainly took me for a ride!

The female protagonist, Jake; lives alone on a small sheep farm on a remote British Island with only the sheep and a dog for company.

The story is told in two time frames, present day and then her past is gradually revealed in reverse chronological order.
At first I liked Jake and felt sorry for her, as her story unfolds it becomes clear that something bad once happened to her. Her back is covered in scars, she is obviously running fr
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Michael
It takes a lot of effort to get into this story - which contains two stories told about the same person in alternate chapters. The narrator is a prickly, suspicious, strong young Australian woman who runs a small sheepholding on an unnamed English island. Something is killing her sheep one by one and whatever it is underlies the progress of the tale.

The other story shows how she came to be in England as we confusingly get told backwards. The writing does not flinch from the woman's work as a pro
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Morag
This book gave me a sore arm from holding the book too tightly and so close to my face. I can't think of another character I've liked so much as Jake, the girl in All The Birds, Singing. I was with her, heart in mouth, through all her mistakes big and small, even her very first and most disastrous one which isn't revealed until the final section of the book. Really wonderful.
Carolyn
Jake Whyte, the main character in this novel is running from her past. Clearly, something unspeakable has happened to her to make her leave her family home and run away first to Darwin and then after getting into a dangerous situation there run further south to Post Hedland to work as a roustabout and shearer and finally to flee to a small island off the west coast of England to become a sheep farmer with only a dog for company.

All this becomes quite evident early in the book as the author weave
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Judy

When I finished reading Evie Wyld's first novel, After the Fall, a Still Small Voice, I knew I would be reading every other novel she would write. Some readers like to go to the peaks of forbidding mountains, some to dense jungles or the bottom of the sea. I like the fierce environments of Australia.

All the Birds, Singing takes place both in Australia and on the West coast of England. Lots of sheep, raising and shearing of; plenty of people who are more feral than the animals. Jake Whyte is a wo
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Bree T
Jake White lives on an island, alone with only 50 head of sheep for company. She bought the property from older farmer Don and although tries to convince Jake to socialise among the small, tight-knit community, maybe come down to the pub occasionally, Jake refuses. She keeps to herself, doing all the jobs around the farm with only the occasional assistance from Don.

Then Jake begins losing sheep – finding just the shredded remains. The predator could be anything but what’s left of the carcasses d
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Kylie
Something is killing Jake Whyte's sheep. It comes out of the forest that borders her farm on a British island to stalk her animals and rampage through her house. The few people she speaks to tell her it's a fox, but she doesn't trust them - doesn't trust anyone, really; the life she left behind in Australia made sure of that.

All the Birds, Singing is an intriguing book. Its two alternating storylines run in opposite directions, deepening the twin mysteries of what's happening to Jake's sheep and
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Figgy
Another sheep, mangled and bled out, her innards not yet crusting and the vapours rising from her like a steamed pudding. Crows, their beaks shining, strutting and rasping, and when I waved my stick they flew to the trees and watched, flaring out their wings, singing, if you could call it that.


I first heard about this book the day after it won the Miles Franklin award and, having never been pulled in by the blurb of any of the others, decided it was likely a book I would never read.

Then it came
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Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
http://www.mybookishways.com/2014/06/...

An isolated British island is the main setting for this riveting novel. Jake Whyte lives with her collie, Dog, on a sheep farm on the island, and she’s as close to peace as she’s ever been, but when someone, or something, starts brutally killing her sheep, she doesn’t know where to turn. The local law enforcement is friendly, but not at all helpful, and Jakes own ghosts are threatening to overwhelm her. When a stranger shows up in her shed, she reluctantly
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Lisa
I quite enjoyed this, if "enjoyed" is the right term for being utterly creeped out on a number of different levels. But Wyld had control over all of them, and let the reader's darkest thoughts do a bunch of the heavy lifting as well—she did a good job invoking both the supernatural and the very, very concrete aspects of fear. The story opens with Jake Whyte, a young woman living alone on a British island tending to her sheep farm and doing her best to stay unnoticed and unallied, discovering tha ...more
Kwoomac
I made a mistake. I started this book reading in small sips when I should have been taking great gulps. By not taking in enough of the story in one sitting, I was confused trying to figure out what was going on. The timeline jumped around. So I found myself thinking, "What? Wait...I thought..." People, don't do what I did. Inhale this book.

The writing is incredible, but this is a gritty, dark story. Want to know how you'll feel reading this? Okay."...and the flies in here are fat and damp-when t
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Debbie Robson
WARNING! 1. Do not read this book if you are depressed. Even slightly depressed! I did and I'm still recovering. 2. Don't read this book if you are an animal lover. I found a lot of the descriptions concerning animals and birds upsetting and in some instances distressing because of the matter of fact attitude of the main character.
Yes, the writing is very good. There are some excellent descriptions, particularly those of the island where Jake lives, presumably somewhere in England: "...My feet s
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Erica
I was zipping along with this book, tension building, mysteries abounding and then suddenly! I got caught up on Lloyd.
I know why he was there but I don't think I ever understood why he stayed and that kept buzzing around in the back of my mind. Why is he still there? Why?

I liked that Jake's present and past were intermixed but as a listener, I was confused by this because it took awhile to figure out which span of time I was in when they changed, as there were no immediate cues.

The reader was re
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Anna Spargo-Ryan
Let’s talk briefly about titles. Evie Wyld has the most wonderful knack for titles. I bought this book, and her debut (After the Fire, A Still Small Voice) on title alone, having no idea what they were about, nor any notion of Wyld herself.

I like a title to tell a story. Not in the way of The One-Hundred Year Old Man Whose Complete Title I Can No Longer Be Bothered Typing In Full, but in setting a mood or sharing a secret about the story. I’m also fascinated by what it imparts about the author’s
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Marianne
All The Birds, Singing is the second novel by British-Australian author, Evie Wyld, and winner of the 2014 Miles Franklin Literary Award. The first narrative starts with Jake Whyte, currently living on an unnamed British island, finding a second of her sheep dead and mutilated, and wondering whether foxes, some other wildlife or the local teens are to blame. Jake’s isolated existence, with only her dog, Dog, and her herd of sheep for company, puzzles the locals. The second narrative starts some ...more
Karen
This was an ARC provided by the publisher at ALA Midwinter. Thanks, Jonathan Cape!

Jake is a solitary sheepwoman on an isolated English island, alone with her sheep and her dog, Dog. She's rebarbative and hermetic, and it quickly becomes clear that she's also afraid of something. Someone--or something--is after her. And whatever it is, it's killing her sheep.

Wyld's book is a masterpiece of the need-to-know--she alternates between the present day in England, and Jake's former life in Australia. Ac
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Brenda
Jake Whyte lived alone with her only companions being Dog and her sheep. She was happy that way, with a tragic past she badly wanted to forget, and she had no desire to be around people. Don, the neighbour she bought her farmhouse from, was the only person she spoke to from one day to the next, and she even had trouble talking to him.

But she kept losing sheep to something, she was sure it wasn’t the local kids, and the damage done was too bad for the foxes. It seemed something evil, something sh
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Michael Livingston
A wonderful book and a worthy winner of the Miles Franklin (it's also the last of the Stella Prize long list reading challenge that I set myself and probably my favourite of the 12 books). Sparse and beautiful, with a fascinatingly damaged character taking centre stage, Wyld has exceeded the promise of her first novel with something memorable, powerful and unsettling. Beautiful prose, neat structure, an overwhelming sense of place and brilliant characters. Highly recommended.
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The Readers: YWTB #9 - Evie Wyld 1 37 Aug 12, 2013 08:11AM  
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  • When the Night Comes
  • Reasons She Goes to the Woods
  • The Night Guest
  • Eyrie
  • Like a House on Fire
  • The Swan Book
  • The Railwayman's Wife
  • Journey to the Stone Country
  • The Shadow of the Crescent Moon
  • Mateship With Birds
  • Mullumbimby
  • Orkney
  • Dark Horse
  • Foal's Bread
  • Lost Voices
  • A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing
  • Floundering
After the Fire, a Still Small Voice The Mechanics' Institute Review: Issue 10 Sea Stories Still: Short Stories Inspired by Photographs of Vacated Spaces You Are The Friction

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