Polly Clark - Larchfield - Quercus

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    • ISBN:9781786481955
    • Publication date:08 Mar 2018

Larchfield

The moving, gripping and wonderful debut about finding human connection

By Polly Clark

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Winner of the MsLexia Prize, a beautiful novel about a woman's struggle with isolation and sanity woven with the story of the poet W. H. Auden

'Gripping' Margaret Atwood
'Captivating' Louis de Bernières
'Magnificent' Alexander McCall Smith

When Dora moves to the small Scottish town with her new husband, she doesn't realise how lonely it will be at home alone with a baby; or how cold her neighbours will be. Desperate for connection, she finds a message in a bottle on the beach, with a phone number. She calls.

Back in 1930, Wystan H. Auden, yet to become a great poet, takes up a job teaching boys at Larchfield school in Scotland. Haunted by his illegal homosexual desires, he longs for someone who understands him. On the beach, he flings a message in a bottle into the sea.

What happens next is a breathtaking connection that rejoices in the power of imagination.

Biographical Notes

Polly Clark was born in Toronto and lives in Helensburgh on Scotland's west coast, a few streets away from where W.H. Auden wrote 'The Orators'. Auden's struggle as he conceived this electrifying and genre-busting work was an inspiration for her debut novel Larchfield. As Literature Programmer for Cove Park she brings writers from all over the world to take part in Scotland's International Artist Residency. Her three poetry collections have between them won the Eric Gregory Award, been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and twice been selected as one of the Poetry Book Society's books of the year.

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  • ISBN: 9781786481948
  • Publication date: 23 Mar 2017
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: riverrun
Magical and transcendent . . . I suspect that few debuts in 2017 will match the elegance of Larchfield. This is a beautiful novel: passionate, lyrical and surprising. I will remember Larchfield for a long time. — John Boyne, Irish Times
This is a mysterious, wondrous, captivating book — Louis de Bernieres
Larchfield is that rarest of rare first novels - a book that actually achieves its great ambition. I found it so immensely readable; it's brainy, verbally acute and knowing, with an ingenious literary historical premise that it impressively (and artfully) carries off right in front of your eyes. It's work of considerable talent — Richard Ford
A magnificent book - haunting and beautifully written — Alexander McCall Smith, Good Housekeeping
For anyone who knows what it feels like to move to a new place and feel lonely, or feel like an outsider, this book will speak to you — Rachel Revesz, Independent
A book one doesn't want to put down — Daily Mail
Stunning . . . I was lost in this moving and gripping study of isolation — Fanny Blake, Woman and Home
An atmospheric, haunting time-slip novel about a new mother struggling to survive in a claustrophobic town where poet WH Auden lived — Charlotte Heathcote, Sunday Times, S Magazine
Elegant . . . Clark has written a measured and graceful novel; this is particularly true of the way she handles Dora's gradual unravelling. — Natasha Tripney, Observer
That Polly Clark is a poet is never in doubt throughout this imaginative novel, written with poetic force . . . This is a beautifully constructed novel with a wealth of detail and characterisation. Moving and wonderful. — Daily Express
Clark has a wonderful eye for detail and a light comic touch . . . A funny, poised, and affecting meditation on the healing power of poetry — Daisy Dunn, The Times
An impeccably told story of isolation and creativity, it's as involving as a thriller. — Hepzibah Anderson, Mail on Sunday
One of those wonderfully rare novels that catches hold of you and reels you effortlessly in from the moment you begin turning its pages . . . A novel about loneliness and finding the strength to be yourself, as well as the power of imagination. In succumbing to this compulsive book, I found myself reminded of that power . . . Its lyricism and imaginative prowess bring to life the inner lives of two poets separated by time — Edwina Boyd-Gibbins, Stylist
This lyrical novel about the poet WH Auden and a young mother is captivating — Heat
A meeting of minds across time, between a modern-day woman poet and a young WH Auden, illustrates the redemptive power of the poetic imagination — The Lady
A haunting read, this novel charts the bravery that allows unusual people to transcend banality and suffering with the power of their imagination — Good Housekeeping
A beautifully written debut about outsiders, creativity and motherhood — Sarra Manning, Red
This quietly beautiful and hugely atmospheric novel is as rich as it is compelling — Heat
Bringing a long dead poet to brilliant life . . . It makes for a powerful and moving read . . . Clark hits emotional beats with her characters that often take the reader by surprise with their sheer power . . . Moving, powerful and immensely readable, Larchfield is a book of isolation, growth, love and friendship. Hugely recommended and fantastically written; author Polly Clark is a huge talent and one I'll be keen to watch out for in the future — Luke Marlowe, Bookbag
A mesmerising time-slip tale . . . a beautiful, poetic story — Nina Pottell, Prima
Larchfield is a beautiful debut about a woman's struggle with isolation and sanity woven with the story of poet W. H. Auden, which signals Polly Clark as an author to watch — i Paper
Congratulations on Larchfield! Helpful imaginary Auden, beset wife, evil upstairsers: gripping turf wars of the mind! — Margaret Atwood
Larchfield is beautifully eloquent about that quotidian kind of courage that so often goes overlooked: that fortitude that allows us to engage compassion through our loneliness, and to construct a future in which our truest selves might fit. — Jim Shepard
A fine novel of rich mysteries. What an original way to explore the assembling or collapse of identity; the reader has a powerful sense of a kind of vortex into which the two main characters are drawn - with a masterly stroke of unexpected impossibility standing in for a moment of mental collapse. I was riveted. — John Fuller
The sense of danger hanging over the characters kept me reading until past midnight — Marina Lewycka
So wise, tender, and immaculately written. It's full of such delicate poetry yet I devoured it like a thriller. A beautiful, life-affirming read. — Emylia Hall
I was absorbed by this rich and atmospheric novel with its brooding sense of isolation, its poetic language and its portrait of a mental breakdown — Fanny Blake
Brava brava! Most satisfying thing I've read this year. Beautiful. — Brian Chikwava
Striking . . . Clark, a TS Eliot Prize-Shortlisted poet, writes beautifully — Bookseller
A beautiful debut novel about a woman's struggle with isolation and sanity woven into the story of the poet W. H. Auden. It's about bravery, loneliness and survival and was inspired by the author's own plight when she moved to Helensburgh in Scotland and found a connection with Auden that was to change her life — Foyles
Wonderful characters and set pieces — Di Speirs
What a wonderfully satisfying and gratifying book it is: vivid, moving, sympathetic, beautifully shaped, convincingly inventive, and tactful in its approach to painful depths. I enjoyed it enormously. — Edward Mendelson
I have no doubt that the best novel that I have read in the past year was Polly Clark's debut Larchfield. Extraordinarily inventive . . . it is moving, haunting, searingly memorable and a very significant artistic achievement — Michael Russell, MSP
A story beautifully and passionately rendered — Margie Orford
A deft and moving portrayal of isolation — Juliet Mushens
The one to watch, according to — Sunday Times, Sun, Red, Heat, The Lady, Scotsman, Foyles
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