Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler

Stubborn Archivist

I’m delighted to share the third of my reviews as shadow judge for The Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award this year. Today I have my review of Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler. You’ll find more about the award here on Linda’s Book Bag and on The Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer’s Award website.

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Published by Little Brown imprint Fleet, Stubborn Archivist is available for purchase through the links here.

Stubborn Archivist

Stubborn Archivist

When your mother considers another country home, it’s hard to know where you belong. When the people you live among can’t pronounce your name, it’s hard to know exactly who you are. And when your body no longer feels like your own, it’s hard to understand your place in the world.

This is a novel of growing up between cultures, of finding your space within them and of learning to live in a traumatized body. Our stubborn archivist tells her story through history, through family conversations, through the eyes of her mother, her grandmother and her aunt and slowly she begins to emerge into the world, defining her own sense of identity.

My Review of Stubborn Archivist

An account of a young woman’s life.

Stubborn Archivist is a complex and intriguing read that held me spellbound even as it confused and beguiled me. I loved the title. With little conventional fictional plot, the narrative is, to some degree, an archive of one person’s life and whilst they have both British and Brazilian heritage, they have to cling stubbornly to their own sense of self and identity. I’m writing so generically about ‘they’ because other than being referred to frequently as the baby, the name of the woman is elusive, reflecting the looseness of her identity and her difficulty in defining herself and where she belongs.

The sections in Portuguese added a brilliant level of authenticity because my inability to read them perfectly mirrored the struggle in the protagonist’s life. Snatches of meaning came through, and at other times these meanings felt obfuscated so that I experienced some of the same frustrations and misunderstandings of the woman whose life is gradually being revealed by the narrative. I thought this was a hugely appropriate technique.

Similarly, the fractured structure of the book, looking sometimes more akin to poetry or a list than prose, the white space suggesting not all the protagonist’s life has been lived or defined yet, but rather that there is more to come, all contributed to the sense of searching for personal identity. I thought this was innovative and so effective. Although punctuation is used almost haphazardly on occasion, I felt this was perfect in delineating some of the truths in the book and leaving open interpretation or less definite elements at other times. Stubborn Archivist pushes the boundaries of conventional writing and makes the reader engage with the text on so many levels. The total lack of speech marks led me to wonder how much of the conversation had been filtered or falsely remembered and how much was true. There’s an unreliabilty in Stubborn Archivist that I found fascinating.

Frequently Yara Rodrigues Fowler’s writing is visual and poetic. Through imagery of food, flora and vividly lyrical descriptions the reader is transported to Brazil, rural England and London so that there is a deep sense of place and its relevance to identity in Stubborn Archivist. The contrast of heat and cold gave far more definition to Brazil and London than the young woman is able to find in her own identity. I also loved the way in which quite shocking or disturbing events are dropped into the narrative almost casually so that I actually exclaimed aloud on a couple of occasions.

The theme of identity is masterfully presented, especially through the physical effect on the protagonist’s body and through the inclusion of family oral history, because although it is individual and personal it also helps create a sense of national and political identity too. It had the added effect of making me recall my own family’s stories and thereby reconnected me to my own sense if self as well as to Stubborn Archivist as a reader.

Feminist, international and creative, Stubborn Archivist is a book I haven’t fully got to grips with. It will reward many readings and I have a feeling I have hardly scratched the surface of what it has to offer. It’s intriguing, frustrating and simultaneously beautifully written. I think you should read if for yourself!

About Yara Rodrigues Fowler

Yara

Yara Rodrigues Fowler is a British Brazilian novelist from South London. Her first novel, Stubborn Archivist, was published in 2019 in the UK and USA. It was called ’stunning’ by Olivia Laing, ‘visceral and elegant’ by Claire-Louise Bennett and ‘breathtakingly written’ by Nikesh Shukla.

Yara was named one of The Observer’s nine ‘hottest-tipped’ debut novelists of 2019 and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize.

Yara is also a trustee of Latin American Women’s Aid, an organisation that runs the only two refuges in Europe for and by Latin American women. She’s writing her second novel now, for which she received the John C Lawrence Award from the Society of Authors towards research in Brazil.

For more information, follow Yara on Twitter @yazzarf. You an also visit her website.

Staying in with Heleen Kist, author of Stay Mad, Sweetheart

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It gives me very great pleasure to be part of the launch celebrations for Stay Mad, Sweetheart by Heleen Kist and to stay in with Heleen to hear more about the book. My thanks to Dylan at Red Dog Press for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

I last stayed in with Heleen Kist to chat about her novel In Servitude in a post you can see here so I’m delighted to welcome her back again today.

Staying in with Heleen Kist

Welcome back to Linda’s Book Bag, Heleen. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me once again.

Hi Linda, thanks for having me. What a lovely fire you’ve got on – it’s freezing outside!

It is! Pull your chair nearer and tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it? 

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I brought my second novel Stay Mad, Sweetheart. I see you’ve still got In Servitude on your bookshelf from when I was last here. I’m honoured.

0. In Servitude by Heleen Kist-cover

Indeed I have and blog readers can find out more about In Servitude here from when we last stayed in together. So tell me, what can we expect from an evening in with Stay Mad, Sweetheart.

You might feel “both engaged and enraged” like one early reader said.

Oh. Sounds intriguing. Explain a bit more…

The book explores the grey areas of consent, insidious harassment and discrimination at work; and what happens when the women have had enough. It’s pacy, with short chapters and I’m told it’s hard to put down until the very end — when you’re left punching the air!

Jo Spain called it ‘a terrific new read’ and ‘on point topical and beautifully written’, which really made my day.

I imagine it did (and if you look along the shelf there you’ll see one of Jo’s books still waiting to be read next to In Servitude!)

It’s an intentionally thought-provoking book a bout everyday sexism and how easy it is to get carried away. I’m hoping it will leave you mulling over where the line is between right and wrong for some time.

I love a book that makes me think Heleen. I imagine a certain interview broadcast over the weekend will make readers even more interested in Stay Mad, Sweetheart! What else have you brought along and why? 

Hold on, while I unlock the carrier. Say hello to Scout, the ferret.

Scout the ferret

Wow! I think Scout must be the most unusual item an author has brought along. She’s very cute isn’t she? But why bring a ferret?

She’s owned by Craig, a photographer, one of my characters. Last year, a friend of mine dared me to include a ferret in this book and whilst at first I had no idea what to do with her, I ended up growing very fond of this pink-nosed creature.

My main character Laura has a cat named Atticus. You might recognise the literary reference: Scout & Atticus. It’s one of a few in the novel. Laura is a real book worm and her love of words is critical to the plot.

Now cats have come along before when authors have stayed in with me and if you look around you’ll see I’m a real cat lover Heleen, but the way Scout is curling up in front of the fire I think she might be converting me! To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favourite all time novels so thank you for reminding me of it as we’ve chatted about Stay Mad, Sweetheart

You’ve really whetted my appetite for Stay Mad, Sweetheart, Heleen and thank you for being here. Let’s find out more about it:

Stay Mad, Sweetheart

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THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN INNOCENCE AND GUILT. AN EVEN FINER LINE BETWEEN JUSTICE AND REVENGE.

Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.

Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.

Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up’s annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.

As the women’s paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who’ve wronged them.

But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?

Published tomorrow, 19th November 2019, by Red Dog Stay Mad, Sweetheart is available from all good bookshops, Amazon and directly from the publisher.

About Heleen Kist

Heleen Kist has been fondled, patronised and ordered to smile by random men. So she wrote Stay Mad, Sweetheart, a feminist tale of revenge. Whilst her professional knowledge of technology start-ups fed the novel’s setting, its theme of harassment and workplace discrimination required no research: it is familiar to all women.

Heleen was chosen as an up and coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. Her first novel, In Servitude won the silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the USA and was shortlisted for The Selfies awarded at London Book Fair.

A Dutch strategy consultant living in Glasgow and married to a Scotsman, she’s raising their son to be a good man and their daughter to kick ass.

You can follow Heleen on Twitter @hkist and Facebook. Or sign up to her newsletter on her website here.

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The Space Race by Liz Butler

The Space Race

One of my most loved memories is watching the moon landings on television through a shop window when I was on holiday as a child in Minehead so when Liz Butler asked me if I’d like to review her children’s book The Space Race I readily accepted. My thanks to Liz for sending me a copy of The Space Race book in return for an honest review.

The Space Race was published by Matador on 31st October 2019 and is available for purchase in all the usual places including here.

The Space Race

The Space Race

And the race is on!

Meet Cat and Dog, two fiercely competitive characters who fight like only cats and dogs can!

The Space Race is a story about the extra-terrestrial adventures of Cat and Dog as they compete in the ultimate challenge – a race to the moon – to prove once and for all who is the best.

But who will win?! Who will be left to wear the pants of shame upon their head?! And can an old dog (or cat) learn new tricks?!

My Review of The Space Race

Cat and Dog decide to settle their differences with a race to the moon.

What a smashing children’s book!

Written in alternate end-rhyme, the language in The Space Race is so good because there’s no forcing of the sounds to fit. Instead, children have the opportunity to explore language in this exciting story with rhymes like ‘day’ and ‘say’ and homophones like ‘floor’ and ‘draw’, as the narrative unfolds. The rhythm of the language works really well read aloud, but equally it is simple enough for slightly older children to read and enjoy independently.

Children will recognise the conflict between Cat and Dog as being very similar to that they might have with friends or siblings and there’s a lovely moral that working together brings a much more positive outcome than does fighting! I love the fact that there is some peril in the story that is satisfactorily resolved so that young children can experience fear and excitement in a safe environment. There’s also humour, especially when the alien is sick, as well as the themes of competition, collaboration and friendship. Added to the opportunity to discover more about space by researching the moon and black holes, this makes The Space Race a brilliant children’s book.

The illustrations by Kate Gallagher are perfect for the text. They have a naive quality that is hugely appealing but also they help underpin the story flawlessly.

The Space Race is a cracking story for very young children. I thoroughly enjoyed it too!

About Liz Butler

liz butler

Liz Butler released her debut children’s story book, The Space Race, in October 2019. Liz works in education and has previously attended creative writing courses due to her passion for writing.

Children inspire her imagination and creativity and with two young children of her own, Liz loves nothing more than settling down with an excellent story book and letting their (and her) imaginations run wild!

For more information, follow Liz on Twitter @LizButl57860113. You’ll also find Liz on Facebook.

A Mrs Miracle Christmas by Debbie Macomber

A Mrs Miracle Christmas

Not having read Debbie Macomber before but hearing such good things about her writing, I was delighted to be asked to participate in the launch celebrations for A Mrs Miracle Christmas and would like to thank Rachel Kennedy at Penguin Random House for inviting me.

A Mrs Miracle Christmas was published by Penguin Random House imprint Arrow on 14th November and is available for purchase through these links.

A Mrs Miracle Christmas

A Mrs Miracle Christmas

Laurel McCullough is in desperate need of help.

Her beloved grandmother has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and the baby she and her husband Zach have longed for now seems like an impossible dream.

So when Mrs Miracle appears at the door, Laurel couldn’t be more relieved. She invites the nurse into her life and it’s not long before they become firm friends.

When her grandmother’s condition begins to improve, and as Laurel and Zach continue their desperate quest for a child, Laurel soon realises that there is more to Mrs Miracle than meets the eye…

My review of A Mrs Miracle Christmas

Laurel’s life is rather complicated!

Now, I’ve no religious belief or faith and I’ve never been a mother nor had any desire to be one, so A Mrs Miracle Christmas should be a book that I really didn’t enjoy. Hmm. Totally untrue! Whilst some readers may find it too sentimental, Debbie Macomber writes with such uplifting warmth, that I couldn’t help being drawn in to this lovely narrative. I read the book on a cold wet afternoon and it was the perfect story to transport the reader away into a world of love and positivity – even when life isn’t treating Laurel and Zach well. I think what I enjoyed so much was the knowledge that everything was likely to be resolved happily, though you’ll have to read the book yourself to see if that is true!

Although A Mrs Miracle Christmas is a light read, Debbie Macomber doesn’t shy away from tougher issues like dementia and infertility so that the book will resonate for many an ordinary reader dealing with similar issues in their own life. I felt especially sorry for Zach as he tries to do what he feels is best. So much of the attention in cases of infertility is focused on women, but here Debbie Macomber sensitively explores the impact on men too and I felt this added depth to the narrative.

I really enjoyed the reduced number of characters because with just Helen, Laurel, Zach and Mrs Miracle dominating, there is the opportunity fully to get to know them. I rather feel we could all do with a Mrs Miracle in our lives at times! I loved the way she embodies the concept that memories are important for us all as she guides Helen along.

A Mrs Miracle Christmas is a heartwarming, entertaining book that I very much enjoyed. It would be an ideal gift at Christmas, particularly, I think, for anyone living alone or in need of solace and cheer. It’s very uplifting and I ended it feeling more positive than when I set out to read it.

About Debbie Macomber

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Debbie Macomber is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers. In addition to fiction, Debbie has also published two bestselling cookbooks; numerous inspirational and nonfiction works; and two acclaimed children’s books. The beloved and bestselling Cedar Cove series became Hallmark Channel’s first dramatic scripted television series, Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, which was ranked as the top program on US cable TV when it debuted in summer 2013.  Hallmark has also produced many successful films based on Debbie’s bestselling Christmas novels. Debbie Macomber owns her own tea room, and a yarn store, A Good Yarnnamed after the shop featured in her  popular Blossom Street novels. She and her husband, Wayne, serve on the Guideposts National Advisory Cabinet, and she is World Vision’s international spokesperson for their Knit for Kids charity initiative. A devoted grandmother, Debbie and her husband Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington (the town on which her Cedar Cove novels are based) and winter in Florida.

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A Night on the Orient Express by Veronica Henry

A Night on the Orient express

It’s funny how life works out isn’t it? I was at an event showcasing Orion’s 2020 releases that you can read about here, where I was chatting to Veronica Henry and thrilled to pick up a copy of her book Christmas at the Beach Hut, and lo and behold, her earlier novel A Night on the Orient Express came out of the box for the U3A reading group to which I belong. I’m delighted to have my review for A Night on the Orient Express today.

A Night on the Orient Express was published by Orion in July 2013 and is available for purchase through these links. Christmas at the Beach Hut is available for purchase here too!

A Night on the Orient Express

A Night on the Orient express

The Orient Express. Luxury. Mystery. Romance.

For one group of passengers settling in to their seats and taking their first sips of champagne, the journey from London to Venice is more than the trip of a lifetime.

A mysterious errand; a promise made to a dying friend; an unexpected proposal; a secret reaching back a lifetime… As the train sweeps on, revelations, confessions and assignations unfold against the most romantic and infamous setting in the world.

My Review of A Night on the Orient Express

Several people have very different reasons for boarding the Orient Express.

I have a confession. To travel on the Orient Express is on my bucket list and so reading A Night on the Orient Express allowed me to fulfil my fantasy – albeit vicariously. Veronica Henry creates the settings so perfectly, with food, music and ambiance so clearly described that I could imagine myself aboard with her characters. Similarly, I found Venice depicted exactly as I have experienced it so that I felt a clear connection to the writing.

There’s quite a cast of characters, and I thoroughly appreciated Adele’s back story that underpins the plot and draws many of the threads together. It made such a change from women’s fiction that only features thirty-somethings, to find love and life lived to the full with teenagers like Beth and the more mature Riley, Sylvie, Adele and Jack. That said, Archie was the one I felt most drawn to because his emotions more closely mirrored my own, but I don’t want to spoil the story by saying why! I thought the plotting was deftly handled as there are very disparate stories for the characters, with the Orient Express as a unifying theme. Similarly, love in its various forms from filial and parental to romantic and physical, provides a unity across the book making it such a good read.

In A Night on the Orient Express Veronica Henry presents a microcosm of society through the relationships and actions of her characters so that there is resonance for all. Modern family life and dynamics, love, betrayal, crime, grief and so on fill the pages and draw in the reader in a tapestry of drama that I thoroughly enjoyed.

A Night on the Orient Express is sheer escapism, transporting the reader to a world of romance and glamour with just enough reality to make them think they could step aboard too. I enjoyed it.

About Veronica Henry

veronica henry

Veronica Henry has worked as a scriptwriter for The Archers, Heartbeat and Holby City amongst many others, before turning to fiction. She won the 2014 RNA Novel Of The Year Award for A Night on the Orient Express. Veronica lives with her family in a village in north Devon.

Find out more by visiting Veronica’s website or following her Twitter @veronica_henry. You’ll also find her on Facebook.

Staying in with Nicola K. Smith, Author of A Degree of Uncertainty

A degree of uncertainty

I haven’t been able to stay in with many authors this year although you’ll find some of those posts here. Today, however, I’m delighted to welcome Nicola K. Smith to stay in with me to tell me all about her debut novel.

Staying in with Nicola K. Smith

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Nicola. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

My pleasure!

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

degree f

I have brought my debut novel, A Degree of Uncertainty. I am a journalist based in Falmouth, in Cornwall and the last few years have seen the town’s art college grow into a full blown university, and the student population has bloomed exponentially. While the students have certainly added more colour and character (not to mention interesting fashion trends) to the town, as well as boosting the economy, the shift in dynamics has inevitably caused some tensions…

I imagine it has! Tell me more…

My novel was prompted by overhearing mutterings in local cafes, conversations (and heated discussions!) with friends, and letters in our famous local newspaper, the Falmouth Packet. There are two sides to every story, and it was a book just crying out to be written!

That’s very true. So, what can we expect from an evening in with A Degree of Uncertainty?

It is a character driven novel. While it explores a Cornish community that is increasingly divided by students — and is further under threat by the ruthless Vice Chancellor’s proposal to increase student numbers by 3,000 more — it is very much about people. It explores love, ambition, betrayal and loyalty.

That sounds really good. Is there anything you’d like to say about those characters?

Harry Manchester is the anti-hero of the tale. He is born and bred in the Cornish town of Poltowan and he vows to protect the community from being overrun by students, and to stop too many houses being bought by greedy landlords. Many residents are relying on him to protect their town, their way of life. Yet Harry is grappling with a number of additional problems, not least trying to reconcile himself with his broken marriage, and concern for his estranged wife, Sylvia, who suffers from depression.

Harry goes head-to-head with Dawn Goldberg, the sassy and ambitious Vice Chancellor who is determined to carve out her career legacy and make her late father proud. Dawn regularly seeks counsel from the statue of a naked man outside her office window, as well as the photo of her father on her desk, both of whom offer condemnation and encouragement in equal measure. As Dawn’s back story unfolds, we come to realise that behind her formidable exterior there are a number of frailties.

I think I’d rather like to see that statue Nicola. I may have a question or two of my own to ask it!

There are several twists and turns as relationships develop and unlikely friendships form – not least between Harry and Ludo, a charismatic Irish student.

Holistically, the story looks at how a community under threat brings out the best — and the worst — in people.

I think A Degree of Uncertainty sounds like my kind of book Nicola. I love character driven narratives and these characters certainly sound colourful!

What else have you brought along and why?

Queen GH

I have brought Queen’s Greatest Hits. Harry Manchester is a frustrated musician and a huge Queen fan. His Bohemian Rhapsody ringtone interrupts his live TV interview at the start of the book, and there are several times when he seeks solace and inspiration from a rousing Queen song when in times of need…

I’m quite partial to a bit of Queen myself. Hang on a minute and I’ll just set this up to play before we chat further…

gin

I have also brought a bottle of Caspyn Cornish Dry Gin (and of course a bottle of tonic and half a cucumber). This wonderful tipple is produced in west Cornwall, near the fictional town of Poltowan, and it is Harry’s go-to drink… Make sure you garnish it with cucumber though! Harry likes his just curling around the rim… Cheers!

Regular Linda’s Book Bag readers will know I can’t tolerate wine as it makes me ill since I had whatever it was that caused me to pass out and hallucinate all over the place, but gin, however, that’s another story! Cheers Nicola, and thank you for staying in with me to chat all about A Degree of Uncertainty.

A Degree of Uncertainty

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A Cornish community is divided by its rapidly growing university. Some residents see it as progress. Others see it as a threat to their town, an end to everything they know.

​Ambitious Vice Chancellor, Dawn Goldberg vows to keep expanding Poltowan University, while businessman, Harry Manchester is committed to saving his beloved community from being overrun by students and greedy landlords. But Harry is also grappling with his broken marriage, while Dawn is consumed by making her late father proud.

​It’s town versus gown. And something’s got to give…

A Degree of Uncertainty is available for purchase directly from Nicola’s website or in paperback or ebook on Amazon from December 1st 2019.

About Nicola K. Smith

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Nicola K Smith is a freelance journalist based in Cornwall. She contributes to a range of titles including The Times, guardian.co.uk, Coast magazine and BBC Countryfile. She has just written her first novel, inspired by life in her home town of Falmouth, and set in a fictional Cornish town…

To find out more about Nicola, visit her website, or follow her on Twitter @NicolaKSmith and on Instagram @nicolaksmith740. You’ll also find Nicola on Facebook.

Salt Slow by Julia Armfield

Salt Slow cover

It gives me very great pleasure today to feature Salt Slow by Julia Armfield as the second of my reviews as shadow judge for The Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award this year. You’ll find more about the award here on Linda’s Book Bag and on The Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer’s Award website.

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Published by Pan Macmillan imprint Picador, Salt Slow is available for purchase through the links here.

Salt Slow

Salt Slow cover

In her brilliantly inventive and haunting debut collection of stories, Julia Armfield explores bodies and the bodily, mapping the skin and bones of her characters through their experiences of isolation, obsession, love and revenge.

Teenagers develop ungodly appetites, a city becomes insomniac overnight, and bodies are diligently picked apart to make up better ones. The mundane worlds of schools and sleepy sea-side towns are invaded and transformed, creating a landscape which is constantly shifting to hold on to its inhabitants. Blurring the mythic and the gothic with the everyday, Salt Slow considers characters in motion – turning away, turning back or simply turning into something new entirely.

Winner of The White Review Short Story Prize 2018, Armfield is a writer of sharp, lyrical prose and tilting dark humour – Salt Slow marks the arrival of an ambitious and singular new voice.

My Review of Salt Slow

A collection of nine short stories.

Salt Slow is a beautifully written collection that surprises, shocks and entertains. Julia Armfield writes in such an innovative manner in Salt Slow that the ills, fears and desires of modern society are presented in startlingly mystical and yet totally believable ways. Her quality of prose left me reeling. I loved the poetic nature of her descriptions. In Salt Slow Julia Armfield manages to encapsulate precisely what the reader might have thought if only they had had the same glorious skill in creating the same new, descriptive compound words. To me this felt like living breathing writing that appealed to all my senses. This is a truly organic collection.

The themes of Salt Slow are universal but explored highly innovatively. We’re so used to a lack of sleep, for example, but having the concept personified in this wraith-like fashion is such a clever and affecting approach. Julia Armfield made me wonder what my own Sleep might look like and how it might behave. With body image, relationships, birth, death, nature, popular culture, relationships, love and obsession woven into the stories I’d defy any reader not to find something in Salt Slow that spoke directly to them through Julia Armfield’s writing.

I found I had to read Salt Slow in a measured way, fully to appreciate the incredible skill of the author. The stories are prescient with menace, sometimes bordering horror, with their frequently voodooistic, vampyric and violent undertones. Oblique literary references to Shakespeare, Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker for example, leave a feeling of disquiet and at times I felt my nerves almost supercharged by the intricate and all too convincing sensory descriptions. Almost against my will I felt a visceral response to Julia Armfield’s writing that perturbed me.

This collection truly isn’t like anything I’ve read before. The quality of imagination translated into fabulous prose is just wonderful. Salt Slow is unsettling, entertaining and beautifully written. I loved Julia Armfield’s collection and recommend it without reservation.

About Julia Armfield

Julia Armfield photo credit Sophie Davidson

Julia Armfield lives and works in London. She is a fiction writer and occasional playwright with a Masters in Victorian Art and Literature from Royal Holloway University. Her work has been published in LighthouseAnalog MagazineThe White Review and Salt‘s Best British Short Stories 2019. She was commended in the Moth Short Story Prize 2017, longlisted for the Deborah Rogers Prize 2018 and is the winner of The White Review Short Story Prize 2018.

You can follow Julia on Twitter @JuliaArmfield and visit her website for more information.