‘Austin writes a captivating story, surprising and intriguing, in prose that’s spare but vivid.’ Rosalie Ham, author of The Dressmaker
When a bridge in the small outback town of Mululuk mysteriously collapses, the town is cut off from the world, and its citizens from each other. As the locals try to work out why the bridge fell and what it will take to replace it, old rivalries, forgotten romances and primitive drives come to the fore.
Teenaged Rachel has come from ‘the city’ to stay with her uncle after her home life has fallen apart, and she quickly becomes involved in the quest for the truth about the bridge. Father Nott, the local Franciscan priest, is trying to get the hysterical townsfolk to see sense, particularly his gossip-mongering friend Gussy. Shane, Janice and Craig find themselves at the heart of a devastating love triangle, with deadly ramifications that will reverberate far beyond the three of them. And the mysterious Charlie, a scruffy, charismatic alcoholic with a dark past, has a terrifying idea about what it takes to keep a bridge standing.
In a town that keeps its secrets like it builds its houses – underground – Charlie’s is the most dangerous of all.
Wry, rich and unsettling, All Fall Down is a starkly Australian gothic novel about a community divided, and a chilling, archaic belief about what must be done to reunite it.
'Cassandra Austin beautifully evokes the feel of the outback, the heat and that red dirt.' Herald Sun
'Strange and spooky, this work is not so much a thriller as a small human drama brushed up with red dirt mysticism.’ Weekly Review
Format & Editions
January 30, 2017
Hamish Hamilton (AU Adult)
Find your local Bookstore at booksellers.org.au
As Janice drives onto the bridge, bitumen hums beneath her tyres, sleek after the gravel corrugations that trail the rest of Mululuk. She barely notices. Too irritated by the blaze of lights.
Out of habit she flicks off her headlights, wishing for quiet black. But there is no relief: enormous globes jut upward from the railing, scorching the night air and romancing insects to a quick, sizzling death. Perhaps if there were water flowing underneath the bridge, a gurgling river, the harsh glare would be carried away over ripples, or reflected gently back. But there is only a chasm of dry red dust, so the hot lights wick what little moisture there is from the desert air and, outside this skirt of light, Mululuk’s houses, pubs, dongas and mining machinery are bathed in black. Gone.