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Historian Anna Bennett has a book to write. She also has an insomniac toddler, a precocious, death-obsessed seven-year-old, and a frequently absent ecologist husband who has brought them all to Colsay, a desolate island in the Hebrides, so he can count the puffins. Ferociously sleep-deprived, torn between mothering and her desire for the pleasures of work and solitude, Anna becomes haunted by the discovery of a baby's skeleton in the garden of their house. Her narrative is punctuated by letters home, written 200 years before, by May, a young, middle-class midwife desperately trying to introduce modern medicine to the suspicious, insular islanders. The lives of these two characters intersect unexpectedly in this deeply moving but also at times blackly funny story about maternal ambivalence, the way we try to control children, and about women's vexed and passionate relationship with work. Moss's second novel displays an exciting expansion of her range - showing her to be both an excellent comic writer and a novelist of great emotional depth.
Granta Books, 9781847082701, 384pp.
Publication Date: April 5, 2012
About the Author
SARAH MOSS was educated at Oxford University and is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. She is the author of two novels; Cold Earth (Granta 2010), and Night Waking, which was selected for the Fiction Uncovered Award in 2011, and she is the co-author of Chocolate: A Global History. She spent 2009-10 as a visiting lecturer at the University of Reykjavik.
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