“This is the first novel in years from incredible short story writer Sarah Hall and wow, did we need it. It’s a stunning (pandemic set) novel that explores sex, death, art, love and desire.
Edith Harkness is a sculptor looking back on her life; her childhood with her single mother recovering from a stroke, her university years and then, a first lockdown with a lover she has just met. She considers the meaning of her life, reckoning with love and connection in the face of loss and how to make art in the wake of mass death. Hall deftly evokes the invincibility of new love alongside the imminent threat of illness and writes startlingly about the embodied potency of both desire and disease.
If you read one pandemic novel this year, make it this one, it’s an absolute stunner.”
An electrifying story of passion, connection and transformation from ‘a writer of show-stopping genius’ (Guardian).
‘Dark and brilliant.’ SARAH MOSS
‘A masterpiece.’ DAISY JOHNSON
‘Extraordinary.’ SARAH PERRY
‘Searing… Sarah Hall’s best work yet.’ JON McGREGOR
‘One of the best books of the year.’
‘Hall has set a bar . . . Finely wrought, intellectually brave and emotionally honest.’
In the bedroom above her immense studio at Burntcoat, the celebrated sculptor Edith Harkness is making her final preparations. The symptoms are well known: her life will draw to an end in the coming days.
Downstairs, the studio is a crucible glowing with memories and desire. It was here, when the first lockdown came, that she brought Halit. The lover she barely knew. A presence from another culture. A doorway into a new and feverish world.
‘Sarah Hall makes language shimmer and burn . . . One of the finest writers at work today.’
‘Wonderful . . . The writing goes down smoking hot onto the page.’
‘Transporting . . . A beautiful novel, full of heat and darkness.’
‘I can think of no other British writer whose talent so consistently thrills, surprises and staggers . . . With Burntcoat she has solidified her status as the literary shining light we lesser souls aspire to.’
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