Falling Animals


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

About the Author

Sheila Armstrong is a writer and editor from the north-west of Ireland. How To Gut A Fish, her first collection of short stories, was shortlisted for the Kate O’Brien Award and longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize. Falling Animals, her debut novel, was chosen for BBC2’s Between The Covers Book Club and shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize.


The characters in Falling Animals are beautifully written: their thoughts and sorrows swirl and eddy in an unchained sea-melody of outsiders, pilgrims and castaways whose drifting lives touch us and leave in their turn. This is a lovely book
*Anne Enright*

Sheila Armstrong’s resonant debut novel ... takes the mystery of an unidentified body on an Irish beach as the starting point for a fractured, polyphonic novel that roams from ship to shore. Her writing is admirably vivid, sensuous and impressionistic as she weaves a subtle tale of loss, loneliness and disconnection

Elegiac and profoundly beautiful.

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*

Armstrong’s prose is as invigorating and restless as the sea itself.
*Daily Mail*

An intriguing mystery...reminding us that no one can live in isolation
*Take a Break*

Remarkable... an absolutely beautiful debut
*The New European*

Sheila Armstrong is in love with the world and its people, and that love shines out clearly in this luminous novel; a novel built on the stories of one small village, shaken loose when a body falls unannounced on the beach. I absolutely loved it.
*Jon McGregor*

A writer of notable talents... Armstrong’s writing is as fresh and bracing as the salt-spattered breeze.
*The Telegraph*

A poignant and immersive read, Falling Animals so deftly pitches you into the head of each character you'll lose yourself in this book. Armstrong writes complex and troubling stories with such unflinching graciousness her characters are desperately humane and easy to empathise with. A stunning first novel from one of Ireland's most intriguing new voices
*Jan Carson, author of The Raptures*

Sheila Armstrong's prose is meticulous and startlingly visual. Falling Animals salvages something altogether human from Life's most sorrowful mysteries
*Rónán Hession, author of Leonard and Hungry Paul*

A wondrous commingling of characters – variously lost, broken, misplaced, striving, reaching – seamlessly bound together by a singular event. A work that sings triumphantly to the interconnectedness of everything. This is vivid, evocative, lyrical, openhearted prose and Falling Animals is a beautiful collage of a novel
*Alan McMonagle, author of Ithaca*

An exceptional debut novel. Profoundly moving, her ability to write community is utterly singular. Her voice sings, using perfect sentences to create unforgettable characters and landscapes, with a structure so deft it is breath taking. I could not put it down and I will encourage everyone I meet to pick it up. Confirms her as one of the most interesting and stellar voices in the Irish literary scene. Falling Animals is a masterpiece.
*Olivia Fitzsimons, author of The Quiet Whispers Never Stop*

I loved How to Gut a Fish, and I love [Falling Animals] too. Armstrong's curiosity in the ‘small’ moments of people’s lives is immersive and hypnotic. I found the novel to be tender and dark, alive with the sense that all destinies are intertwined. She is such a fabulous writer.
*Megan Bradbury, author of Everyone is Watching*

Utterly distinctive and memorable.
*Strong Words*

Set on a perfectly-realised west coast of Ireland... A book to savour and read, and analyse, again.

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