All Fall Down
Hamish Hamilton $29.99 pb, 260 pp, 9781926428253
The collapse of a bridge is the catalyst in Cassandra Austin’s All Fall Down, isolating the small town of Mululuk in true Australian gothic fashion. Janice, crossing the bridge to flee her husband Craig and reunite with former lover Shane – or maybe not – manages to survive the fall, waking from a coma weeks later with a head injury people aren’t sure she isn’t faking. Charlie prays over her, not necessarily for her survival, while Father Nott and Gussy prepare to protest the government’s refusal to open the new bridge until Richard, who may or may not be an insurance assessor, is satisfied he knows what caused the first one to fail. Father Nott’s teenage niece Rachel is thrust into the middle of everything. Banished to Mululuk by her father, self-absorbed Rachel is oblivious to the shimmering tensions, lies, and half-truths that cloud Mululuk’s air as densely as the red dirt of the desert surrounding it.