the observer Sat 05 September 2009
"Sometimes, people aren't all right and that's just how it is," observes one of the characters in Evie Wyld's novel. In fact, lots of people in the book aren't all right - from Frank, who moves into his grandparents' abandoned Queensland shack after he has finally succeeded in driving his girlfriend in Canberra to leave him, to the various local families who are the opposite of all right after their children go missing. Frank represents the third generation of men in the family to retreat to the dilapidated hut after their public wars and private battles. His grandfather fled there after serving in Korea, his father after having been traumatised in Vietnam, with none of them able to speak about what troubles them. Carved in sugar, the preserved wedding cake figurines of his family members are Frank's only companions until he begins, slowly, to open up to the locals and begin his recovery. The landscape of Australia's east coast looms large in the book, wild and sinister, filled with light and tragedy. This is a sad and lovely novel from a talented new writer.
the guardian Fri 28 August 2009
Evie Wyld's terrifically self-assured debut, set mostly on the coast of Queensland, uses its biblical title to describe the turbulent lives of three estranged men - Frank, his father Leon, and grandfather Roman. Frank is a washed-up failure. Abruptly leaving his girlfriend in Sydney, he hotfoots it to his dead grandparents' deserted shack. There he confronts his memories of shortlived happiness and grudgingly accepts the friendship of the locals. Leon grew up as the only child of European immigrant parents. His father, an exquisitely talented baker, volunteered for the Korean war out of dogged loyalty to his adopted country, a trauma which ripped the small family apart. Leon's assumption of Roman's trade is in turn interrupted by his own horrific experiences in Vietnam. It's a cauterising, cleansing tale, told with muscular writing.