Creating a world around us – with a sacred text at the centre

Megan Powell du Toit’s Eternity Summer Read recommendation

Megan Powell du Toit recommends All our shimmering skies by Trent Dalton as an Eternity Summer Read.

Holiday reads are usually thought to be shallow, feel good, for reading and forgetting. But for me, holidays are for reading those thoughtful literary novels which turn you inside out. That leave you pondering long after the holiday has ended. Still, it is also a bonus if they wrap you in beauty.

On a past With All Due Respect podcast episode I waxed lyrical about Trent Dalton’s debut novel Boy swallows universe.

Appropriate, as he writes very lyrical prose. I therefore came to his follow up, All our shimmering skies, with some expectation.

Like his first, it is set in Australia, with a compelling sense of place. I do find a particular enrichment in reading stories which are embedded within my own country.

For me, holidays are for reading those thoughtful literary novels which turn you inside out.

The richly beautiful banquet of its cover is fitting for the feast within. If anything, I enjoyed this even more than his first. Like his first, it intertwines magical and gritty realisms, but here the magical realism is foregrounded. Just as with 2020, it is set at a moment in which it feels like the world is ending, in its case the bombing of Darwin. Or is it just beginning?

As we follow 12 year old gravedigger Molly Hook, it invites us, like her, to make meaning from the world, and in that way create our own world around us.

Molly also has a sacred text she takes on the journey: Shakespeare. It made me think of how the life of faith is in some ways an act of true imagination and how this moment is a time for us as God’s people to re-imagine our world and animate it with both beauty and meaning.  And how the Bible is central in that quest.

All our shimmering skies by Trent Dalton is published by Harper Collins AU and is available for purchase in print, digital and audio edition from – well, everywhere, really

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