“Promise me you’ll make your life graceful, Molly. Promise me you’ll make your life grand and beautiful and poetic.”
These are the words Molly Hook is left with before her mother disappears into the daytime sky. Words that guide Molly through bush and swamp and desert, bring her face to face with heroes and villains, and finally help her unravel the secrets lurking in her family’s past.
Prize winning–author Trent Dalton (Boy Swallows Universe) returns with force with his latest book All Our Shimmering Skies. Set in Darwin, 1942, the story follows 12-year-old Molly on an odyssey through the outback, accompanied by an unlikely and often reluctant troupe of companions: struggling actress Greta Maze, and Yukio, a Japanese fighter pilot fallen from the sky. In chase, Molly’s cruel and wolfish uncle, intent on reclaiming his ward. Ahead, the answers to the family curse, placed on the Hook name by deep-country sorcerer, Longcoat Bob. Around them, the escalating threats of WW2, as the fighting finally makes its way to home soil.
Written through a child’s eyes, Dalton delivers a mad blend of poetry, fairy tale and Australian history; the output as much a coming-of-age story as a Homeric epic. Whether the lyrical style and fanciful characters land will depend on your palate, but it will at the very least give you something to talk about at the next book club meeting.