The Body in the Clouds: Ashley Hay

The Body in the Clouds takes one moment – a man falling from the sky and surviving – and weaves three stories around it: William Dawes, an astronomer in the 1700s, arriving in Australia with the first European fleets; Dan Kopek, a twenty-first-century banker, returning to Australia after a family tragedy; and Ted Parker, a young man in the 1930s who dreams of working on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

These three men are searching for a home, a place where they belong. Ashley Hay allows their stories to transcend time and space through intercepting narratives. Connections materialise and different events converge, giving importance to the central motif of the man who fell from the sky. There is a fragile sense of hope to these men’s stories and to Hay’s writing.

The prose is dreamy and wondering; it feels like there is a little magic lingering just beyond the next page. Pacing is slow, but interspersed with moments of startling clarity and subtle reflection on the cruelties and beauties of life. Hay’s desire to stress the importance of storytelling shines through – how our stories define who we are, where we belong, and who and what we hold dear.

Cover image for The Body in the Clouds

The Body in the Clouds

Ashley Hay

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