Francis Foley is a proud, stubborn man, and cannot stand to be beholden to anyone. Quick to anger and slow to forgiveness, it is his temper that, one day, costs his sons their home -- and their mother. This will not be the last of their losses however: as the four boys and their father embark on an odyssey to find untenanted land they can call their own, their already diminished family is divided still further.
But if a combination of choice and chance cause the five to separate and scatter, each to their own road, then a series of casual encounters and coincidences offer some hope for reunion and -- in Francis's case -- redemption.
Set in Ireland in the mid-19th century, The Fall of Light traces the footsteps of the five Foley men. With elegant, elegiac prose, Niall Williams guides his characters -- and his readers -- through hazard and hardship, friendship, love and death, through to Europe, America and Africa . . . and home again.