The Retreat

Alison Moore

£9.99

Since childhood, Sandra Peters has been fascinated by the small, private island of Lieloh, home to the reclusive silent-film star Valerie Swanson. Having dreamed of going to art college, Sandra is now in her forties and working as a receptionist, but she still harbours artistic ambitions. When she sees an advert for a two-week artists’ retreat on Lieloh, Sandra sets out on what might be a life-changing journey.

In stock

ISBN: 9781784632212 Category: Tag:

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She is both gifted stylist and talented creator of a new English grotesque.

— Isabel Berwick ― Financial Times

Book of the day Dense, complex, thought-provoking, it manages to be at once a fairytale and a philosophical treatise, high-octane thriller and literary interrogation. Like the dreams that haunt Bonnie’s night-times, it holds its secrets close, and repays careful rereading. The end of the novel, abrupt and death-haunted, feels as neat and tight as a key in a lock, and sheds light on the mysteries that have gone before.

— Sarah Crown ― The Guardian

As losses accumulate and ghosts multiply, the book begins to resemble a gothic tale, conflating the tragic and the mundane, betrayal and cooking, loneliness and “newspapers and phones and children and meal deals”. You suspect that some of these leads might be false, but the current of Moore’s prose is stronger than the pull of any potential plot twists. The main narrative is interspersed with flashbacks to 1985 and with anonymous messages, in which someone tells Jessie they are coming home. The interruptions grow longer; the tension increases. And then, without breaking the rhythm, Moore swiftly brings the story to an end, reminding you that life can be a realist drama and a romance, a horror story and an existential novel – often all of these things at once, and more.

— Anna Aslanyan ― The Guardian

He Wants will easily be one of my books of the year… He Wants left me feeling both completely uplifted and utterly devastated, all at once.

— Simon Savidge ― Savidge Works

Alison Moore is very good on modern alienation… She doesn’t so much lay bare a life as shine blinding pinpricks into its darkest corners.

— Claire Allfree ― Metro

Like Moore’s other works, Missing starts out as a spare and seemingly simple psychological drama. But stay with it and dig deeper, for beneath the surface lurk immensely satisfying hidden depths.

— Malcolm Forbes ― The Sunday Herald

Missing is a triumph.

— Anthony Cummins ― Daily Mail

Alison Moore persuades you, gently, to look at words and language anew, to question the nature of the very structures you have inhabited for so long. She has marshalled a multitude of images, all sliding together under the surface, all apparently unstable, isolated, yet touching, like the infinite parallel universes that Jessie reads about. With her apparently simple, artless style, she has achieved something remarkable.

— Philip Womack ― Times Literary Supplement

Since childhood, Sandra Peters has been fascinated by the small, private island of Lieloh, home to the reclusive silent-film star Valerie Swanson. Having dreamed of going to art college, Sandra is now in her forties and working as a receptionist, but she still harbours artistic ambitions. When she sees an advert for a two-week artists’ retreat on Lieloh, Sandra sets out on what might be a life-changing journey.

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