By Jessica Andrews
A stunning new voice in British literary fiction, for fans of Rachel Cusk and Olivia Laing.
'This book is sublime. It dares to be different, to look in a different way. Andrews is not filling anyone's shoes, she is destroying the shoes and building them from scratch.' Daisy Johnson
When Lucy wins a place at university, she thinks London will unlock her future. It is a city alive with pop up bars, cool girls and neon lights illuminating the Thames at night. At least this is what Lucy expects, having grown up seemingly a world away in working-class Sunderland, amid legendary family stories of Irish immigrants and boarding houses, now-defunct ice rinks and an engagement ring at a fish market.
Yet Lucy's transition to a new life is more overwhelming than she ever expected. As she works long shifts to make ends meet and navigates chaotic parties from East London warehouses to South Kensington mansions, she still feels like an outsider among her fellow students. When things come to a head at her graduation, Lucy takes off for Ireland, seeking solace in her late grandfather's cottage and the wild landscape that surrounds it, wondering if she can piece together who she really is.
Lyrical and boundary-breaking, Saltwater explores the complexities of mother-daughter relationships, the challenges of shifting class identity and the way that the strongest feelings of love can be the hardest to define.
Jessica Andrews writes fiction and poetry. She grew up in Sunderland and has spent time living in Santa Cruz, Paris, Donegal, Barcelona and London. She has been published by the Independent, Somesuch Stories, AnOther, Caught by the River, Shabby Doll House and Papaya Press, among others. She teaches Literature and Creative Writing classes and co-runs literary magazine The Grapevine, which aims to give a platform to under-represented writers.
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- Publication date:
16 May 2019
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This book is sublime. It dares to be different, to look in a different way. Andrews is not filling anyone's shoes, she is destroying the shoes and building them from scratch. — Daisy Johnson, author of Everything Under
Luminous — Observer New Review
A stunning new voice in British literary fiction. — Independent
Saltwater moved me to tears on several occasions; here is proof of the poetic idiosyncrasies of every family, of every person's narrative being worthy of literature, of the fact that a good novel shouldn't bring voices in from the margins, but travel outwards towards them, and let them tell their own story, in their own voice, in their own, unique way. — Andrew McMillan
Saltwater revels in the possibilities of its form, using fragments to shift tone and texture, reminding us of those pivotal moments that can upend a life . . . This book holds disparate elements in a finely wrought balance that is difficult to achieve at any stage of a writing life let alone in a debut. — Kayo Chingonyi, winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize
A book of breathtaking beauty. Saltwater is a visionary novel with prose that gets deep under your skin. The short, sharp chapters thrum with life. Lucy is a memorable character, her journey one that is moving and totally compelling, telling a series of deep truths about the state of our divided nation. Andrews is a major new voice in contemporary British fiction. — Alex Preston