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The Slowworm's Song

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529354232

Price: £9.99

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Sunday Times


A profound and tender tale of guilt, the search for atonement and the hard, uncertain work of loving from the critically acclaimed author of Pure

An ex-soldier and recovering alcoholic living quietly in Somerset, Stephen Rose has just begun to form a bond with Maggie, the daughter he barely knows, when he receives a summons – to an inquiry in Belfast about an incident during the Troubles, which he hoped he had long outdistanced. Now, to testify about it could wreck his fragile relationship with Maggie. And if he loses her, he loses everything.

He decides instead to write her an account of his life – a confession, a defence, a love letter. Also a means of buying time. But as time runs out, the day comes when he must face again what happened in that distant summer of 1982.


‘Unique, visionary, a master at unmasking humanity’
Sarah Hall

‘A writer of very rare and outstanding gifts’
Independent on Sunday

‘A highly intelligent writer, both exciting and contemplative’
The Times

‘A wonderful storyteller’


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 . . . restrained, beautifully written
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
Edward Argyle, Daily Express
Miller tackles big themes and weaves a profound and poignant tale about shame, trauma and the possibility of redemption
Lucy Popescu, Summer Reading, Tablet
A poignant and profound tale of a man seeking atonement
Joanne Finney, Good Housekeeping
Andrew Miller's gentle, beautifully crafted sentences belie the often brutal truths behind the narrative. The image of the slowworm, silent and sinister, finding its way into the precious earth, is set against a song of light and life that won't be silenced
Victoria Barry, Scotsman
A painful yet beautiful novel . . . Miller is a wonderful storyteller, as comfortable writing about the Napoleonic wars as the Troubles . . . In this novel, Stephen's reckoning may be extreme but his message is universal
Susie Mesure, Spectator
Andrew Miller is one of our finest writers. Few can match his sensitivity of touch, eye for telling detail and acute feel for setting . . . The passages describing Rose's military duty are impeccably researched and viscerally real
Peter Carty, i
The sections detailing Stephen's army life, and particularly those covering his tour of duty in Belfast, are excellent: immersive in their detail and atmosphere . . . [Miller] has sufficient decorum, talent and sensitivity to do justice to his delicate subject matter
Rob Doyle, Observer
His evocation of squaddie life rings absolutely true . . . It's deeply moving to see how this self-torturing individual gradually learns that he's surrounded by helpers, often in the unlikeliest of guises, while tiny flowers of grace spring up in stony places
Suzi Feay, Tablet
There is no easy resolution, and that is why The Slowworm's Song . . . is so affecting. It is about truth, objective or otherwise, and about the attempts of flawed human beings to live with it
Nicholas Clee, Times Literary Supplement
A stunning work of fiction, a beautifully written tale of conflict and family fracture . . . The Slowworm's Song is a sublime reminder of how a great novel can have such a deep impact
Martin Chilton, Independent
Moving and compassionate
Reader's Digest
It reads truer than memoir . . . A state-of-the-nation novel, in elegiac prose
New York Times Book Review
Expertly paced . . . as taut as a thriller . . . Miller, with his acute eye for detail and his practiced sense of timing, describes these Belfast streets and this soldier's experience so plainly and yet so evocatively that both become new again
Wall Street Journal