From the first word to the last page ‘All the birds, singing’ is an all encompassing, evocative, shocking and fearful novel yet one that appears so fearless. How many writers are able to weave a story of sheep and prostitution and abuse together to come out with beauty? And that is what is so magical about Evie Wyld’s second novel; it’s undeniable beauty and delicacy when dealing with a story which is the antithesis; which is so rough so sickening. There are sections, the first pages, the last, the sections with Oto that made me feel uncomfortable that are clearly designed to express, to explain the past of protagonist Jake Whyte.
Jake Whyte. There’s a name. A female of Australian birth who finds herself alone on a sheep farm on an ‘unnamed british island’ that sounds and apparently is based on the Isle of Wight. She is,not just on the farm, the island but throughout the story and despite her questionable relationships, undeniably alone. Her awkward masculinity that the reader is accosted with bluntly throughout, her hair, her clothes, her job, her attitude. For a woman who worked the streets it seems bizarre that there isn’t just a hint of femininity… Bizarre until you begin to realise, to understand…. why someone would deny this… And then just as you think you have started to finally get a grip on the story Wyld drags you abruptly, considering the pace, down a rabbit hole of explanation, of justification or atleast attempted justification. Leaving you, as the best always do with a resolution that simply brings forth further questions that need answers you never want to hear. And thoughts that make you question the simple makeup of humanity.
The pace and structure of the narrative, if told chronologically would be like one of those stories you read about on the front page and are unsure of how to feel. Horrific acts validated. But you don’t get that. You get pulled in, pulled closer to Jake and you feel, as Wyld wants you to, Jake’s fears. And your left as you started, awkward and uncomfortable yet almost now an accessory to the crimes that take place. For me Evie Wyld does what every writer needs to do in writing, she questions the morals of life and does it in a way that is so beautiful, it makes my heart quite literally sing.