Last night in Maleny I went to listen to Trent Dalton share about his latest release, All Our Shimmering Skies.
It’s a story about 12 year old Molly Hook, grave digger’s daughter, about gifts that fall from the sky, curses we dig from the earth and the secrets we bury inside ourselves. The cinematic, poetic scenes and crisp text make it a magical read. Every line, sentence, phrase is filled with imagery. It’s like Trent has this eye for capturing moments evocatively.
Covid requirements mean the hall is set out with space between chairs, our names on each chair. Inside the RSL hall, Trent gives thanks for the Christmas tree, the flags and for Mary Lou who interviews him. Thanks to Jan Cornfoot and her team at Rosetta bookshop in Maleny who brought this event to life.
Trent is a compassion, deeply emotional man, journo, father, husband and writer who knows how to spin a story. in his many self doubts after he delivered Boy Swallows the Universe, Trent goes on to say that Mom Fox gave him permission to write more. Another book! Perhaps a third and fourth one!
He writes from the heart and what’s inside him. The 12 year old boy long ago. He wants to inspire his 2 daughters who are still young and have not read his latest novel. As Trent says, “You need the darkness to appreciate the light.” How true that has been for me.
Sometimes it’s the broken pieces of me that make me love more.
There are epitaphs and poems in the book. You can feel the love of dead people around you. Read the words and Molly pieces together the words on the epitaphs because she is not being loved. Trent remarks, “Don’t be afraid to see dead people.”
Trent refers back often when he is talking to the 4 Dalton boys in the 80’s and 90’s.
His inner home. Darwin and the journey there. His research. Japanese hero figures. Homer’s Odyssey and The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.
The sky a metaphor for conversations with his father whom he loved. Molly seeks answers from the sky.
Why me? he asks to the sky.
You’ll be richer if you pick up this book and read it.
Here’s a short passage describing Darwin in 1942.
“The Darwin dream has a smell and it smells like the maggots eating all those discarded crab claws. It smells like all the cut ends of vegetables left to rot in Chinatown bins that dingoes and lost dogs tip over after the dark. Darwin dreams in drink and sweat. Warm beer and toil. Fat bellied fist-fighters and men who piss in buckets beneath their bar stools.” (p87)
I hope, dear readers you enjoy reading whatever you find whether a classic, crime, mystery or romance. I believe there’s a bit of everything in All the Shimmering Skies. Let me know what you have recently read.
As one person said, All our Shimmering Skies is a courageous expression of longing, hope, and love against unimaginable odds.” Asher Keddie.