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May 25, 2023

‘lush, lyrical and beautiful’ debut novel Falling Animals is published today by Bloomsbury

Sheila Armstrong’s

The disquieting story of an unidentified man as told by those who crossed paths with him on the last day of his life, Sheila Armstrong's debut novel is haunting, lyrical and darkly suspenseful

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On an isolated beach set against a lonely, windswept coastline, a pale figure sits serenely against a sand dune staring out to sea. His hands are folded neatly in his lap, his ankles are crossed and there is a faint smile on his otherwise lifeless face.

Months later, after a fruitless investigation, the nameless stranger is buried in an unmarked grave. But the mystery of his life and death lingers on, drawing the nearby villagers into its wake. From strandings to shipwrecks, it is not the first time that strangeness has washed up on their shores.

Told through a chorus of voices, Falling Animals follows the crosshatching threads of lives both true and imagined, real and surreal, past and present. Slowly, over great time and distance, the story of one man, alone on a beach, begins to unravel. Elegiac and atmospheric, dark and disquieting, Sheila Armstrong's debut novel marks her arrival as one of the most uniquely gifted writers at work in literary fiction today.

Praise for Falling Animals

“An immensely impressive debut from a major literary talent”

Joseph O’Connor, author of Shadowplay

“Lush, lyrical and cleverly-constructed. A beautiful book”

Louise Kennedy, author of Trespasses

“A writer of notable talents”

The Telegraph

Reader Reviews

Beautifully written and gently catches the reader with its meditative prose and deep humanity”

Such a beautiful book”

“Gorgeous wild setting and achingly recognisable characters”

Sheila Armstrong: the Sligo shipwrecks and mystery man that inspired my novel Falling Animals

Haunted by ghosts of the sea

Listen to Sheila discuss Falling Animals on Arena, RTE Radio 1

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