All our shimmering skies was beautiful. The descriptions were vivid, the world described alive with colour and feeling and trauma and the watchful eye of a Superego-like sky. The story of Molly, the 12 year old gravedigger’s daughter who thinks her heart is turning to stone because her family is cursed, takes place in Darwin, Australia and it follows the structure of a good old-fashioned quest: a magical object, a walkabout, a wizard, a curse and the struggle to reverse the curse. Molly is not alone in her quest: there is someone after her, but there are also two others with her to help her, people who are there to face their own demons. Without knowing much about Aboriginal culture, I felt that Dalton treated the Aboriginal elements in the story with respect and did his homework to make sure he didn’t offend. I hope I am not wrong. The walkabout had a dream-like quality, and the characters were interesting and nuanced.
I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this book. The only thing I found mildly annoying were the repetitions of “Run, Molly, run” and “Dig, Molly, dig”.
But for some reason I felt sad when I completed it, because I had hoped that all this beauty and pain would affect me in a much deeper way.
I have noticed that, if it takes me more than 3-4 sittings to get through a book, I forget parts, I get out of it, an emotional gulf opens between me and the book. So I am sure that my lack of feeling and connection is at least partly explained by this fact. It took me a week to read All our shimmering skies. A week that was a little taxing on a personal level, which made it even harder to pick up this book (or any book) and concentrate on reading it. It made me think about all the factors that might affect our reviews of books (or at least my reviews).
I suppose what I’m saying is, it’s not you, All our shimmering skies, it’s me. Ignore my rating because it is a rating of how I felt, not how good the book objectively was (is there an objectively good book?) I would recommend this book to anyone who likes poetic, beautiful descriptions. Maybe my own heart has turned to stone but, if yours hasn’t, you will love this book.