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An excitingly contemporary and innovative blend of a beautifully written novel with pictures by a critically acclaimed author.

An excitingly contemporary and innovative blend of a beautifully written novel with pictures by a critically acclaimed author.

Rudy is a successful architect, but life is not as happy as it should be. His work leaves him artistically frustrated, his wife and two young daughters have moved out of the house he designed for them, and his pushy young associate is vying for design supremacy. When a Vespa accident puts him into hospital and forces him to recuperate at home, he looks in danger of losing everything, but it is then that his repressed artistic yearnings start to make their presence felt, not just in the glass creations he begins to craft, but also in his strange, vivid dreams.

This is a terrific novel in its own right, but with Sarah Laing's superb ink-wash drawings, interspersing the text, it offers an additional and intriguingly innovative way to tell a story.


What makes the novel work is that the characters are strong. None of them are especially likeable, but they are wholly credible. Laing has little difficulty creating credible males: both Rudy, with his paroxysms of possessive jealousy, and his best mate Greg ring true, as does their occasionally turbulent mateship. Laura is interesting, too, and the moment when Rudy's character and the novel both come alive is when Greg's mother arrives to look after him, and gives him a shave. The intimacy, the resonances of their relationship when he was a boy, the ghost of her husband and his father ... it's a well- drawn, nuanced human moment. It feels real.

John McCrystal, NZ Books

Laing's telling of the story is witty, detailed, emotional, full of characters who have extravagant interests, and full of the richness of its Auckland setting. . . . She has a sharp eye for a wide range of human character . . . Laing keeps us guessing until well towards the end as to how Rudy's future will pan out. A very enjoyable read.

Mark Crowl, Otago Daily Times

It's a novel crackling with edgy characters and relationships . . . a thoughtful look at the interfaces between creativity and compromise. . . . Sarah Laing's writing is richly responsive to the physical world. Glittering, bitchy dialogue is mixed nicely with moments of quiet. And of course she's an artist as well as an author. So Vintage's handsome production interleaves text with pages of her compact, crafted black and white images. They echo and extend moods or moments, and they acknowledge Rudy's own lifelong deity.

David Hill, Weekend Herald

Laing successfully captures the ecosystem of a broken family: desires, longing, shorthand, warmth and disappointment. With her flawed characters, she narrates the cultural zeitgeist and emotional circumference of a certain type of New Zealander and a certain type of New Zealand. . . . Laing has created a novel that pulls you towards a couch or early into bed; a comfort of words, The Fall of Light is very well designed.

Lily Richards, NZ Listener

. . . the writing is clever and witty and all the individual story lines weave together. Adding to the story is Laing's incredible ink-wash drawings which are interspersed within the text. It was a hold move to add the drawings, but strangely it works . . . With strong characters and an evocative setting this is a beautiful but powerful story you won't be able to put down.

Rebekah Fraser, Greymouth Evening Star

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    July 5, 2013

    RHNZ Vintage

    352 pages

    RRP $38.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook


    July 5, 2013

    RHNZ Adult ebooks

    344 pages

    Online retailers

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

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

Also by Sarah Laing

Inside a Pomegranate
Coming Up Roses
Dead People's Music


The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
The Girl on the Train
The Golden House
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
Swing Time
The Mistress
Tiger Men
The Golden Age
Fifty Shades Darker
A Long Way from Home
Uncommon Type
The Trip of a Lifetime
The Light Between Oceans
Line of Fire
Ready Player One