‘Sharlene Allsopp’s The Great Undoing is groundbreaking storytelling – truth telling – that pierces the reader’s heart as it asks: how do you interpret silence? The breathtaking scope of this beautifully-written debut novel, and its unique, ambitious and powerful navigation of the contested borders between history and fiction, truth and lie, archive and heresy, will stay with me. It’s the kind of book that, after reading, makes you want to write to the author to say: THANK YOU.’ – Holly Ringland, author of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart and The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding
‘Sharlene Allsopp’s debut novel is a remarkable achievement. Through the art of great storytelling she challenges us to respond to a threat to our very existence; our understanding of who we are, where we come from and the knowledge systems that will bind us into the future.
The Great Undoing is a book for all time -our past, present, and an increasingly precarious future.’ – Tony Birch, author of The White Girl and Women & Children
How long can you run from a lie, if that lie is what your life is founded on?
In a near future all identity information is encoded in digital language. Nations know where everyone is, all the time. Not everyone agrees with this constant surveillance, and when the system is hijacked and shut down, all global borders are closed. The world is no longer connected, and there is no back-up plan to establish belonging, ownership or trade.
Scarlet Friday, whose job is to correct historical record, is stranded on the wrong side of the globe. Befriended by a stranger, she grabs an old, faded history book and writes her own version over the top—a record of the Great Undoing on the run.
But in deciding what truth to tell Scarlet must face her own history. How do we navigate identity when it is all a lie? She must reckon with her past before she can imagine her future.