BOOK REVIEW: All Fall Down is a cracking novel

THE CRACK is followed by an ear-splitting screech: tiny rivets shearing through metalwork as though it was butter.

The massive concrete span fractures. Plummets.

All Fall Down marks the emergence of a thrilling, unsettling and supremely accomplished new voice in Australian literary fiction: Cassandra Austin.

When a bridge in the small outback town of Mululuk mysteriously collapses, the town is cut off from the world, and its citizens from each other.

An unwilling guest to Mululuk, teenage Rachel has been sent from Melbourne to stay with her uncle whilst events at home settle down. She quickly finds herself embroiled in the town's quest for the truth about the bridge and in the all too adult world of a dangerous love triangle between Shane, Janice and Craig.

Janice wakes from a car accident confused and faced with questions that she is unable to answer. Secrets she thought were buried are coming to the surface and with tensions mounting, she knows it is time to make a choice.

Gussy knows all there is to know about Mululuk and its citizens. The fallen bridge however is a mystery even to her and she is desperate to get to the bottom of events. It is Gussy's old friend Charlie, a mysterious, scruffy and charismatic alcoholic, who has a terrifying plan for how to rebuild the bridge.

Wry, rich and unsettling, All Fall Down is a starkly Australian gothic novel about a community divided, the secrets we keep, and a chilling belief in how to build a bridge strong and safe.


Born in 1969, Cassandra Austin grew up in outback NSW but completed her formal education at Melbourne University with an MA in Criminology.

She has been working in documentary film-making in London, Los Angeles and Melbourne. She also studied creative writing at UCLA.

Austin has previously written one novella, Seeing George, published by Random House in 2004. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children, but returns to Australia regularly.

'Austin writes a captivating story, surprising and intriguing in prose that's spare but vivid'

- Rosalie Ham, bestselling author of The Dressmaker

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