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‘Austin writes a captivating story, surprising and intriguing, in prose that’s spare but vivid.’ Rosalie Ham, author of The Dressmaker

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. As the locals try to work out why the bridge fell and what it will take to replace it, old rivalries, forgotten romances and primitive drives come to the fore.

Teenaged Rachel has come from ‘the city’ to stay with her uncle after her home life has fallen apart, and she quickly becomes involved in the quest for the truth about the bridge. Father Nott, the local Franciscan priest, is trying to get the hysterical townsfolk to see sense, particularly his gossip-mongering friend Gussy. Shane, Janice and Craig find themselves at the heart of a devastating love triangle, with deadly ramifications that will reverberate far beyond the three of them. And the mysterious Charlie, a scruffy, charismatic alcoholic with a dark past, has a terrifying idea about what it takes to keep a bridge standing.

In a town that keeps its secrets like it builds its houses – underground – Charlie’s is the most dangerous of all.

Wry, rich and unsettling,
All Fall Down is a starkly Australian gothic novel about a community divided, and a chilling, archaic belief about what must be done to reunite it. 'Cassandra Austin beautifully evokes the feel of the outback, the heat and that red dirt.' Herald Sun

'Strange and spooky, this work is not so much a thriller as a small human drama brushed up with red dirt mysticism.’ Weekly Review

‘Affairs, past insults, tested friendships and bad habits are all laid bare as Austin weaves her complex plot between shifting perspectives in sleek, elegant prose.’ Australian Book Review


Poignant and unnerving

Sunday Age

Cassandra Austin beautifully evokes the feel of the outback, the heat and that red dirt

Herald Sun

Strange and spooky, this work is not so much a thriller as a small human drama brushed up with red dirt mysticism

Weekly Review

All Fall Down is engaging and well-realised. It’s couched in the gothic sensibilities of writers such as Barbara Baynton and, more recently, Evie Wyld and Charlotte Wood.

Weekend Australian

The novel has a strong sense of place and a cast of complex, vividly realised characters.

Saturday Age

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    January 30, 2017

    Hamish Hamilton (AU Adult)

    288 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    January 30, 2017

    Penguin eBooks (AU Adult)

    288 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au


As Janice drives onto the bridge, bitumen hums beneath her tyres, sleek after the gravel corrugations that trail the rest of Mululuk. She barely notices. Too irritated by the blaze of lights.

Out of habit she flicks off her headlights, wishing for quiet black. But there is no relief: enormous globes jut upward from the railing, scorching the night air and romancing insects to a quick, sizzling death. Perhaps if there were water flowing underneath the bridge, a gurgling river, the harsh glare would be carried away over ripples, or reflected gently back. But there is only a chasm of dry red dust, so the hot lights wick what little moisture there is from the desert air and, outside this skirt of light, Mululuk’s houses, pubs, dongas and mining machinery are bathed in black. Gone.

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Book List
Star Reads of 2017

Some incredible 2017 books to get your hands on.

Unearthing Gothic

Cassandra Austin kicks up Australian dust in her novel All Fall Down.


Crimes of the Father
Into the Water
Best Laid Plans
Night School
The Woolgrower's Companion
The Traitor’s Girl
After You
Lake Hill
The Light Between Oceans
Congo Dawn
The Handmaid's Tale
Anything Is Possible
Men Without Women
The Good Mother
The French Perfumer
The Mistress
The Course Of Love
Seven Types of Ambiguity