We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

The Slowworm's Song

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781529354218

Price: £18.99

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

By the Costa Award-winning author of PURE, a profound and tender tale of guilt, a search for atonement and the hard, uncertain work of loving.

‘The writing is near perfect. But the novel’s excellence goes far beyond this . . . You read [it] . . . with your pulse racing, all your senses awake’ Guardian

‘A beautiful, lambent, timely novel’ – Sarah Hall

An ex-soldier and recovering alcoholic living quietly in Somerset, Stephen Rose has just begun to form a bond with the daughter he barely knows when he receives a summons – to an inquiry into an incident during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

It is the return of what Stephen hoped he had outdistanced. Above all, to testify would jeopardise the fragile relationship with his daughter. And if he loses her, he loses everything.

Instead, he decides to write her an account of his life; a confession, a defence, a love letter. Also a means of buying time. But time is running out, and the day comes when he must face again what happened in that faraway summer of 1982.


A beautiful, lambent, timely novel that admits our worst capacities while insisting on accountability and our ability to improve. Andrew Miller is among those brave male writers steering a progressive course. Yet he remains, as ever, unique, visionary, a master at unmasking humanity.
Sarah Hall
The theme is handled in a way that is bolder and more exquisitely menacing than anything he's done before . . . It's all real, and all fictional, gorgeously so. You read what might have been a perfectly commonplace story of failure and redemption with your pulse racing, all your senses awake. Miller's last novel didn't make the Booker list, but this restrained, beautifully written apologia for our common frailty surely should.
Elizabeth Lowry, Guardian
I spent the first half of The Slowworm's Song in a sort of ecstasy, marvelling at Miller's masterful characterisation; his confident evocation of army life and sensitive depiction of the Troubles; the nuanced exploration of alcoholism; the clean, well-made prose style studded with moments of descriptive beauty . . . Stephen is an unforgettable character, and Miller has pulled off the miraculous feat of sketching a full human life in a few hundred pages.
Claire Lowdon, Sunday Times
The focused interiority of Stephen's narration, together with the slowburning fuse of a plot, make for a quiet intensity that stretches the nerves . . . this empathic and artful novel is about both the mysteries we are to ourselves, and the power of speech
Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail
Gorgeously written . . . it approaches the Troubles from a unique angle . . . Since his debut, Ingenious Pain, Miller has shown a knack for historical immersion, and he continues to excel in it here.
Ethan Croft, Literary Review
It's difficult not to be moved by Stephen's heartfelt words as he comes face to face with what happened in that 1982 summer.
Belfast Telegraph
The multiple award-winning author of Pure returns with a tender, compelling and exquisitely written novel of extraordinary power...Exploring a brutal chapter in the unhappy and sometimes shameful history of Northern Ireland, this wonderful novel is also a story of atonement and redemption.
Daily Mirror