At the Edge of the Solid World

Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2021

The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age ‘Pick of the Week’ for 14-15 November 2020

An Australian Book Review Book of the Year for 2020

Praise for At the Edge of the Solid World

There are, in a sense, many books in this single work, and their merging is gainful, like an alloy whose molten components are improved through complexity. … At the Edge of the Solid World is an unapologetically demanding work. It challenges readers in terms of both form and content: facing its graphic catalogue of violence, keeping account of its many moving parts, reckoning with its philosophical deadlocks, and, at the end of a reading session, escaping its obsessive hold. Most extraordinary is Davis Wood’s ability to blur the boundaries between narratives until, from their yielding, edgeless form, emerges a new shape.

— Naama Grey-Smith, The Australian Book Review (print and podcast)

In his second novel, Daniel Davis Wood weaves the complex stories of individuals and families with history and culture, space and time. … The ripple effects of all the events in this account of [the narrator’s grief] are tragic, but the tragedy is enfolded in love and acts of tenderness and memory. It’s not a comfortable read. But it is an extraordinary read.

— Jen Webb, The Guardian

Daniel Davis Wood is one of those surprisingly rare writers whose prose style and powers of observation do justice to each other. … One of the best things about this novel is the way it makes us think about the relationship between personal tragedies and human catastrophes on a grand scale.

— Kerryn Goldsworthy, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Utterly original… a detailed study in grief and empathy. This beautifully written novel places individual and personal human grief in the context of various massive-scale real-life tragedies, tacitly making the argument that the former is not diminished by the latter.

Australian Book Review Books of the Year

This novel does not bend to easy summation. On the surface it is about a man crippled by grief after the death of his newborn. But where other novels might cleave to a story of domestic drama — indeed his marriage does disintegrate — this one cleverly plumbs his inner world as he searches to understand this grief within the limitations of language and shared experience. … The narrator’s peripatetic mind investigates historical figures who’ve also grappled with loss and displacement, and the reader must tussle with the overlay of meanings this intellectually sophisticated novel animates.

— Sarah L’Estrange, ABC Arts

A significant literary achievement. … A powerful and deeply intelligent novel that probes the extremes of human experience, a text about which you’ll be thinking for a long time to come.

— Jeff Sparrow, The Saturday Paper

An ornate emotional vivisection… [The] chapters become intricately calibrated collisions, collapses in space and time… marvels of narrative engineering.

— Beejay Silcox, The Australian

A beautiful, formally ambitious and wrenching book about mourning and empathy — a wonderful follow-up to Blood and Bone.

— Adam Rivett, The Monthly

An artful portrayal of strong emotion, and of the functions and limitations of various kinds of empathy…

Shannon Burns

A masterpiece.


Exquisite and lyrical… dark and claustrophobic… brilliant and beautifully written.

Neil Lucas, The Book Lover

Beautifully written, delving into grief and the way it fractures people’s lives…

Michael Livingston, Goodreads

The best novel I’ve read this year. Intense, compelling, epic.

Kim, Goodreads