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 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-nineteenth century, The Fall of Light traces the footsteps of the five Foley men. With elegant, elegiac prose, Niall Williams guides his characters through hazard and hardship, friendship, love and death, across the world . . . and home again.