Shirm is a writer of deft skill. Her prose is gentle, uncluttered, and suffused with a compassionate, clear-eyed intelligence. Delicate, restrained and sensitive, Where the Light Falls is nonetheless steadfast in its examination of our responsibilities as artists, and as people'. Peggy Frew, author of Hope Farm
'In lean, elegant prose Shirm explores the silences and mysteries that shape the artist's mind and work. The novel's landscapes are vivid and charged - the mystical Lake George, the frozen streets of a scarred Berlin. Against these atmospheric backdrops guilt and regret, memory and sensation, art and life collide. Through her acutely observed portrait of Andrew, Shirm asks how deeply the artist must know himself before he can make art from the lives of others.' Mireille Juchau, author of The World Without Us
Andrew, a photographer compelled by 'the honesty in broken things', returns to Australia when he hears that his former girlfriend has disappeared. By the time he gets back, no body has been found. He prolongs his stay in Australia to investigate her shadowy past, putting his current relationship at risk for reasons he barely understands. At the same time he meets a damaged girl whom he knows will be a riveting subject for his new series of photos. As he struggles to make sense of his motivations, Andrew realises that photography has become an obsession predicated on his need to hold on to the things he has lost in his life. He finds himself re-evaluating his past and his art in this deeply moving and insightful debut novel from a rising star of Australian literature.