Hamish Hamilton


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Cassandra Austin

Imagine if David Lynch (Twin Peaks) filmed Wake in Fright: this novel marks the emergence of a thrilling, unsettling, supremely accomplished new voice in Australian literary fiction.

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 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 and meddling 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, is haunted by a terrifying plan for how to rebuild the bridge.

As dust storms and secrets whip Mululuk into a frenzy, the fate of the community comes to rest on Rachel’s young shoulders. Will they sacrifice the outsider to keep the town together?

Wry, rich and unsettling, All Fall Down is a starkly Australian gothic novel about a community divided and a chilling, archaic belief in how to build a bridge strong and safe.

Cassandra Austin studied creative writing at UCLA and has been working in documentary film-making in London, Los Angeles and Melbourne. She is the author of Seeing George, published by Random House in 2004. She currently lives in LA.

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