All the Birds, Singing
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All the Birds, Singing

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  1,043 ratings  ·  255 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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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...more
[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 Feil
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
Ayelet Waldman
This book is almost fantastic. It builds beautifully, but what it builds to ultimately disappointed me.
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
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...more
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.
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
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...more
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...more

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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)

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...more
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...more
Thanks to Goodreads and Knopf Books for this copy, which I won in a giveaway.

All the Birds, Singing, by Evie Wyld, is the story of Jake Whyte. Jake is an Australian who is currently residing, or rather hiding, on a small English island, where she is a sheep farmer. When we meet her, she is discovering another one of her sheep has been killed. Jake is unsure what is killing her sheep, but she is determined to keep them alive.

The story has two main plot lines that appear in alternating chapters....more
Pamela Barrett
This is the first time I’ve read a book where I’ve had less empathy for the main character at the end of the story; then at the beginning. In this story a young woman (Jake Whyte) is living on an isolated British Island, with her incorrigible dog (Dog), raising sheep, haunted by her past and also haunted by something or someone who is killing her sheep. It sounds intriguing doesn’t it: and this is written by a new author who has won awards and is being compared to Hemingway…what’s not to like? H...more
Eric Anderson
I read Evie Wyld’s first brutal and poetic novel “After the Fire, A Still Small Voice” with my book club some time ago. She has such a distinct powerful voice that I was thrilled to see she published a second novel last summer. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get to it, but I’m so glad I finally did. Since I started the novel on Saturday morning I’ve had a hard time putting it down. “All the Birds, Singing” is tremendous. Opening with the death of a sheep and a strange reclusive woman...more
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...more
Evie Wyld’s second novel is an unusual and unsettling story of Jake Whyte, a young Australian woman, who is trying to outrun her violent and bleak past in the Australian outback. Menacing, and full of suspense, the book is a masterpiece of compelling storyline, deft plotting and beautiful writing. Jake is a sheep farmer on an isolated farm on an island off the coast of England. Fiercely independent and shunning companionship, expect that of her dog, Dog, she is scarred both physically and emotio...more

All the Birds Singing is Australian fiction at its best – gritty, atmospheric and suspenseful, it represents a true gem of the genre.

Jake Whyte is a young woman living an isolated life on her recently purchased sheep farm on a remote English island. Scarred by a traumatic past she avoids human contact, preferring the company of her dog to that of other people. But there is an evil afoot, which kills her sheep at night and makes its malevolent presence felt in the dark, even invading Jake’s ho...more
Jo-Ann Duff (Duffy The Writer)
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 shoved my boot in Dog’s face to stop him from taking a string of her away with him as a souvenir, and he kept close by my side as I wheeled the carcass out of the field and down to the woodshed.’

That is...more
Who would have thought I'd have read two Australian authors, back to back, as well as a few others over the past year or so, and in this case covering a lot about shepherding, but I have, and they have been very good as a whole. The sheep are an important component, but it is really about a troubled young woman working her way out of some dark past lives, which are revealed ever so slowly, as she also combats a terrifying mysterious creature that is attacking her flock. Well written, though you...more
Claire McAlpine
An Australian woman named Jake Whyte has bought a farm on an unnamed remote island somewhere off the coast of England and although she has lived there alone for years, it is as if she has only just arrived, there is reticence, suspicion, distrust, an unwillingness to engage, to form new relationships or retain old ones.

In the opening paragraphs she visits a farm shop and we don't get any sense that they know each other, there is no acknowledgment of neighbourly acquaintance. She is suffering fro...more
Jake has taken refuge on an unnamed island off the coast of Britain. But someone or something is killing her sheep, and the past is harder to cast off than she thought. As various characters attempt to break through her protective shell, Jake works back through her own memories of the experiences that brought her here.

I mostly liked this a lot. Evie Wyld's writing is both evocative and elliptical, omitting sentences most writers would consider necessary and leaving the reader to do the work. At...more
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The Readers: YWTB #9 - Evie Wyld 1 23 Aug 12, 2013 08:11AM  
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  • Eyrie
  • Almost English
  • Idiopathy: A Novel
  • Mateship With Birds
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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