In September 1883, the South Australian town of Fairly huddles under strange, vivid sunsets. Six-year-old Denny Wallace has gone missing during a dust storm, and the whole town is intent on finding him. As they search the desert and mountains for the lost child, the residents of Fairly - newlyweds, landowners, farmers, mothers, artists, Indigenous trackers, cameleers, children, schoolteachers, widows, maids, policemen - explore their own relationships with the complex landscape unsettling history of the Flinders Ranges.
The colonial Australia of The Sun Walks Down is unfamiliar, multicultural, and noisy with opinions, arguments, longings and terrors. It's haunted by many gods - the sun among them, rising and falling on each day that Denny could be found, or lost forever.
Praise for Fiona McFarlane
'The Sun Walks Down is the book I'm always longing to find: brilliant, fresh and compulsively readable. It is marvellous. I loved it from start to finish.' Ann Patchett, author of These Precious Days
'Gorgeous storytelling and superb characters are among the glories of The Sun Walks Down. Fiona McFarlane is an extraordinary writer, one of the best working today. Her magnificent reworking of the lost child story showcases the profound understanding she brings to people, places and the past. I lived in this wise, majestic novel for days and never wanted it to end.' Michelle de Kretser, dual Miles Franklin-winning author of Scary Monsters
'Accomplished, assured, elegant and insightful - this beautifully told novel took me on the most unexpected and compelling of journeys. I adored it.' Sofie Laguna, Miles Franklin-winning author of Infinite Splendours
'The Sun Walks Down is an extraordinary work of fiction that I have no doubt will become a classic of Australian literature. McFarlane's writing is assured, masterful, nothing short of brilliant.' Emily Bitto, Stella Prize-winning author of The Strays and Wild Abandon
'Symphonic in composition, The Sun Walks Down assembles an entire world around the disappearance of a young boy into the South Australian dust. Patiently, subtly, and with great-hearted humanity, Fiona McFarlane gives full life to every character in this world, remaking colonial myths with a 21st-century novelist's tools. As the parts come together towards a moving climax, you find yourself immersed in something vast, satisfying on every level, a triumph of literary construction. With The Night Guest, McFarlane emerged as a major Australian literary novelist; The Sun Walks Down confirms it.' Malcolm Knox, author of Bluebird
'MacFarlane's great gifts as a storyteller are on full display in this luminous and assured novel. Its extraordinary characters are at once revealed and shadowed by loss and by history, and by their fears for a child missing in a parched place few can read or know. All are infused - adults, children and the landscape they walk and search - with a complexity and dignity that is her hallmark. I closed the book and wanted immediately to read it again.' Kristina Olsson, author of Boy, Lost