Polly Clark - Larchfield - Quercus

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Paperback £13.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9781786481931
    • Publication date:23 Mar 2017
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781786481948
    • Publication date:23 Mar 2017

Larchfield

By Polly Clark

  • Paperback
  • £8.99

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

'Mysterious, wondrous, captivating' Louis de Bernieres

'We need the courage to choose ourselves' W. H. Auden

It's early summer when a young poet, Dora Fielding, moves to Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland and her hopes are first challenged. Newly married, pregnant, she's excited by the prospect of a life that combines family and creativity. She thinks she knows what being a person, a wife, a mother, means. She is soon shown that she is wrong. As the battle begins for her very sense of self, Dora comes to find the realities of small town life suffocating, and, eventually, terrifying; until she finds a way to escape reality altogether.

Another poet, she discovers, lived in Helensburgh once. Wystan H. Auden, brilliant and awkward at 24, with his first book of poetry published, should be embarking on success and society in London. Instead, in 1930, fleeing a broken engagement, he takes a teaching post at Larchfield School for boys where he is mocked for his Englishness and suspected - rightly - of homosexuality. Yet in this repressed limbo Wystan will fall in love for the first time, even as he fights his deepest fears.

The need for human connection compels these two vulnerable outsiders to find each other and make a reality of their own that will save them both. Echoing the depths of Possession, the elegance of The Stranger's Child and the ingenuity of Longbourn, Larchfield is a beautiful and haunting novel about heroism - the unusual bravery that allows unusual people to go on living; to transcend banality and suffering with the power of their 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.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781786481955
  • Publication date: 08 Mar 2018
  • Page count: 368
  • Imprint: riverrun
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
This is a mysterious, wondrous, captivating book — Louis de Bernieres
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
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 story beautifully and passionately rendered — Margie Orford
Wonderful characters and set pieces — Di Speirs
The sense of danger hanging over the characters kept me reading until past midnight — Marina Lewycka
A deft and moving portrayal of isolation — Juliet Mushens
Brava brava! Most satisfying thing I've read this year. Beautiful. — Brian Chikwava
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 one to watch, according to — Sunday Times, Sun, Red, Heat, The Lady, Scotsman, Foyles
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
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
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
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
Striking . . . Clark, a TS Eliot Prize-Shortlisted poet, writes beautifully — Bookseller
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
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
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
Stunning . . . I was lost in this moving and gripping study of isolation — Fanny Blake, Woman and Home
A beautifully written debut about outsiders, creativity and motherhood — Sarra Manning, Red
A mesmerising time-slip tale . . . a beautiful, poetic story — Nina Pottell, Prima
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
This quietly beautiful and hugely atmospheric novel is as rich as it is compelling — Heat
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
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
A book one doesn't want to put down — Daily Mail
A magnificent book - haunting and beautifully written — Alexander McCall Smith, Good Housekeeping
Congratulations on Larchfield! Helpful imaginary Auden, beset wife, evil upstairsers: gripping turf wars of the mind! — Margaret Atwood
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
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
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
MacLehose Press

The Oblique Place

Caterina Pascual Söderbaum
Authors:
Caterina Pascual Söderbaum

An exceptional literary journey unlike any other, an achingly beautiful fusion of memories and history unlike any other. "Caterina Pascual Söderbaum has left a major European literary work of art as her legacy" STEVE SEM-SANDBERG, author of Emperor of LiesFrom idyllic Attersee in Austria, where the employees at Nazi extermination camps are sent for a well-deserved rest, to Schloss Hartheim, where the staff of the regime's euthanasia programme forget, with the help of alcohol and sex, the horrors that take place there, to Villa Saint-Jean, the summer residence where malnourished children from France's internment camps are sent to recover. In Uppsala, a woman scours her mother's albums for photographs of her christening, taken in the family's flat in Spanish Lérida. In one she is resting in her father's arms. In the next he toasts the camera, dressed in the uniform of Franco fascism and with his right arm extended. A whole family history in just a few photographs: a grandfather who joined Hitler's army; a father who dreamed of war and ended up in the Spanish Sahara; a mother who shares her surname with Kristina Söderbaum, a celebrated film star of the Third Reich. And the child in a white christening gown, who will become a mother herself and one day walk along the shores of the Attersee. In evocative prose that examines whether guilt can be passed down through generations, the late Caterina Pascual Söderbaum explores how Europe lost itself in a period of darkness.Translated from the Swedish by Frank Perry

Quercus

More Than a Feeling

Cate Woods
Authors:
Cate Woods

'Cate Woods is laugh-out-loud funny and life affirming' Closer. Perfect for fans of Jo Thomas and The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart. In her twenties, Annie Taylor was sorted: she had her dream job, an amazing social life and was happily single. She had bags of confidence and played up her likeness to a young Barbra Streisand in turbans and winged eyeliner. Annie knew exactly who she was, and her future looked bright and full of adventures.Life, however, hasn't turned out quite how she expected. Now Annie is living with her boyfriend Luke and is a stay-at-home mum to their baby daughter, Dot. The promising career has petered out, and with it her confidence and creativity. And when Luke does the unforgivable, Annie finds herself suddenly, terrifyingly, on her own. With the help of her group of loyal friends, Annie faces the challenge of trying to reconcile the glamorous, carefree Annie of old with the knackered mum-of-one she sees in the mirror today. Is old Annie gone forever, or could this finally be the chance to find herself once more?

MacLehose Press

All the Lives We Never Lived

Anuradha Roy
Authors:
Anuradha Roy

"In my childhood, I was known as the boy whose mother had run off with an Englishman." So begins the story of Myshkin and his mother Gayatri, its rebellious, alluring artist-heroine who is driven to abandon home and marriage and follow her primal instinct for freedom.Freedom of another kind is in the air across all of India, and in Germany the Nazis have come to power. At this point of crisis, a German artist from Gayatri's past seeks her out. His arrival ignites passions she has long been forced to suppress.What follows is Gayatri's life as pieced together by her son, a journey that takes him through India and Dutch-held Bali. Excavating the roots of the world in which he was abandoned, he comes to understand the connections between volcanic strife at home and a war-torn universe overtaken by patriotism. The scale of Anuradha Roy's novel is matched by its power as a parable for our times. Its depiction of the contrasting ideas of Gandhi and Tagore, of the limits of nationalism when confronted by cosmopolitanism, makes it a spell-binding saga centred on people trying to make sense of their lives.

riverrun

The Consolation of Maps

Thomas Bourke
Authors:
Thomas Bourke

Kenji Tanabe finds maps easier to read than people. At the elite Tokyo gallery where he works, he sells antique maps by selling the stories that he sees within their traces: their contribution to progress, their dramatic illustrations, their exquisite compasses. But no compass or cartography can guide him through the events that will follow the sudden and unexpected offer of a job in America.There, Theodora Appel runs a company that is more like a family. Brilliantly successful, beguilingly secretive, she gradually initiates Kenji into her rarefied world. Only someone like him - quiet, intensely committed and discreet - could be allowed to see beneath the surface to what his employer is hiding. Theodora has never recovered from the death of her lover, and her obsession to reclaim the past threatens them all.Moving across countries and cultures, The Consolation of Maps charts an attempt to understand the tide of history, the geography of people and the boundless territory of loss.

Jo Fletcher Books

Wyntertide

Andrew Caldecott
Authors:
Andrew Caldecott
Quercus

What Lies Within

Annabelle Thorpe
Authors:
Annabelle Thorpe

Three friends. Two worlds. Ten years of friendship. And a new life in an unfamiliar city that will take apart everything they believe to be true.Paul, Freya and Hamad have stayed close friends since university in spite of Freya and Paul's marriage, and Hamad's exotic, wealthy life. But with Paul's career in the doldrums, an incredible offer from Hamad sees Paul and Freya move to Morocco to reinvigorate their marriage and fulfil their hopes.But Marrakech proves a bewildering city and the delicate balance of their unusual triangle becomes disturbed. Hamad's glamorous girlfriend, Racine, disrupts the harmony the three have sustained for so long, and Freya discovers that life in Marrakech is driving her and Paul apart. Unexpected revelations about their shared past and present force her to realise that neither of the men she loves is quite as she thought they were. When a shocking crime is committed, Freya finds herself cast adrift in the dark corners of this unfamiliar city, unsure who to trust or believe.

riverrun

Almost Love

Louise O'Neill
Authors:
Louise O'Neill

'A bold, uncompromising depiction of obsessive love' MARIAN KEYES'O'Neill is a vital and necessary presence in contemporary literature and we are lucky to have her' SARAH PERRY'A real, raw story . . . Louise O'Neill will once again connect to the secret, intimate places of readers' minds and lives' CECELIA AHERNWhen Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard.So it doesn't matter that he's twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she's sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him. Sarah's friends are worried. Her father can't understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she's on the verge of losing her job.But Sarah can't help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew. And love is supposed to hurt. Isn't it?

Quercus

The Memory Chamber

Holly Cave
Authors:
Holly Cave

YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. YOU CAN PRESERVE A HANDFUL OF SPECIAL MEMORIES FOR EVER. WHICH ONES WOULD YOU CHOOSE?**********True death is a thing of the past. Now you can spend the rest of eternity re-living your happiest memories: that first kiss, falling in love, the birth of your children, enjoyed on loop for ever and ever.Isobel is a Heaven Architect, and she helps dying people create afterlives from these memories. So when she falls for Jarek, one of her terminal - and married - clients, she knows that while she cannot save him, she can create the most beautiful of heavens, just for him.But when Jarek's wife is found dead, Isobel uncovers a darker side of the world she works within, and she can trust no one with what she finds...The Memory Chamber is a thrilling and original story which vaults the reader into a world that is terrifyingly close to our own, where we can avoid everything we fear - even death itself. But can we ever escape the truth?**********'A sensational thriller not to be missed' Fiona Cummins, author of Rattle'Strikingly original and impossible to put down' John Marrs, author of The One

riverrun

Seventeen

Hideo Yokoyama
Authors:
Hideo Yokoyama
Quercus

Before We Were Yours

Lisa Wingate
Authors:
Lisa Wingate

THE RUNAWAY NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERWINNER OF GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS 2017 BEST HISTORICAL FICTION AWARD'If I could give this book 50 stars I would. I couldn't put it down and couldn't get it out of my mind'Amazon Reviewer'Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation's history and weaves a tale of enduring power' Paula McLainMemphis, Tennessee, 1939Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge, until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents. But they quickly realize the dark truth...Aiken, South Carolina, present dayBorn into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.Based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals, in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country, Before We Were Yours is a riveting, wrenching and ultimately uplifting tale.

Quercus

Snow Angels

Elizabeth Gill
Authors:
Elizabeth Gill
MacLehose Press

The Impostor

Javier Cercas
Authors:
Javier Cercas

Who is Enric Marco? An old man from Barcelona who claims to be a Nazi concentration camp survivor and rises to be president of Spain's leading Holocaust survivor movement, the Friends of Mauthausen. By the time he is unmasked in Austria in 2005 on the eve of the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the camp, he has become a civic hero, speaking at hundreds of conferences, granting dozens of interviews, receiving state honours, publishing a successful memoir and even moving Spanish congressmen to tears at a memorial homage to Republicans deported by the Third Reich. The case shocked the world, and Enric Marco was labelled a great imposter to which he responded: "I am an impostor, but not a fraud."A decade later, Javier Cercas addresses the enigma of the man, his truths and lies, and, through an investigation that unravels Spain's history in the twentieth century, delves with passion and unflinching honesty into that deepest part of human nature - our infinite capacity for self-deception, our need for conformity, our lies, our insatiable thirst for affection and our opposing needs for fiction and reality.The Impostor is an extraordinary novel that not only tells Marco's self-deluding story, but also challenges the reader to consider how truthful any of us is in the way we present ourselves in daily life. Are we not all, asks Cercas, the novelists of our own lives?Translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne

riverrun

Histories

Sam Guglani
Authors:
Sam Guglani
Quercus

The Lost Village

Neil Spring
Authors:
Neil Spring

'Neil Spring is Agatha Christie meets James Herbert' STEPHEN VOLK A haunting and spooky thriller, with an unforgettable twist! The remote village of Imber - remote, lost and abandoned. The outside world hasn't been let in since soldiers forced the inhabitants out, much to their contempt.But now, a dark secret threatens all who venture near. Everyone is in danger, and only Harry Price can help. Reluctantly reunited with his former assistant Sarah Grey, he must unlock the mystery of Imber, and unsurface the secrets someone thought were long buried. But will Sarah's involvement be the undoing of them both?

Jo Fletcher Books

The Crow Garden

Alison Littlewood
Authors:
Alison Littlewood
MacLehose Press

The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles

Roy Jacobsen
Authors:
Roy Jacobsen

'A compact and compelling novel by an iconic Norwegian writer...[and] thanks to Don Bartlett and Don Shaw's crisp translation, we see it obliquely' - IndependentSet in Finland in 1939, this is the story of one man who remains in his home town when everyone else has fled, burning down their houses in their wake, before the invading Russians arrive. Timo remains behind because he can't imagine life anywhere else, doing anything else besides felling the trees near his home. This is a novel about belonging - a tale of powerful and forbidden friendships forged during a war, of unexpected bravery and astonishing survival instincts. The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles is not a novel about war, but about the lives of ordinary people dragged into war, each of whom only wants to find the path back home. Roy Jacobsen uses the dramatic natural landscape of light and darkness, fire-blazing heat and life-robbing cold to spectacular effect.

Quercus

A Perfect Husband

Hilary Boyd
Authors:
Hilary Boyd

What would it take for you to give up on the man you love, the man you thought was the perfect husband - until you discovered just how much he was hiding from you? Lily and Freddy have a wonderful relationship: passionate and fun. Freddy taught her to love again after the death of her father. But then Freddy becomes tense, snappy and distracted. Is he having an affair? The truth turns out to be much worse...Freddy is addicted to gambling. He owes hundreds of thousands of pounds to loan companies; he's been helping himself to money from his own company, which has now gone bust; and worst of all, his wife's money - given to him to invest - is gone. Devastated, Lily leaves him, and moves to stay with her sister in Oxford. There, among the dreaming spires, she will clear her head of Freddy and try to figure out how to move on.But being away from Freddy is far harder than she'd thought. He promises to get help, but can he really ever be cured of his addiction? How can Lily trust him again - surely, after the heartache he's caused her, she would be far better off walking away and starting again? The truth is, she is as addicted to Freddy as he is to gambling - and she's not sure she even wants to be free.

Quercus

The Early Birds

Laurie Graham
Authors:
Laurie Graham

'Why is Laurie Graham not carried on people's shoulders through cheering crowds? Her books are brilliant!' MARIAN KEYESThe Early Birds is the feel-good and funny follow-up to The Future Homemakers of America that proves that no matter what life throws at you, great friends and regular cocktails will always see you through.Peggy, the southern belle. Kath, the pragmatist with the only Norfolk accent in New York state. Gayle, the preacher with healing hands. Mrs Colonel Audrey Rudman, forever keeping up the standards of the Officers' Wives Club. Lois, who's never had a thought she didn't voice. Loudly.Their menfolk may be long retired, but once a US Air Force wife, always an Air Force wife, and the bonds of friendship forged in base after military base are still going strong fifty years later. Time is rendering its Accounts Payable for all of them now: hip replacements, eye problems, forgetfulness and departures. In this hymn to lifelong female friendship, Peggy soldiers on through new upheavals, including her ex-husband Vern's Alzheimer's diagnosis, the death of one of her nearest and dearest, a life-changing house move and the world-shattering events of 9/11 with the help of her sharp-tongued, often eccentric, but always loyal group of friends.

riverrun

The Lonely Hearts Hotel

Heather O'Neill
Authors:
Heather O'Neill

'Joyful, funny and vividly alive' Emily St John Mandel'The Lonely Hearts Hotel sucked me right in and only got better and better . . . I began underlining truths I had hungered for' Miranda July'Makes me think of comets and live wires . . . raises goosebumps' Helen Oyeyemi'A fairytale laced with gunpowder' Kelly Link The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a love story with a difference. Set throughout the roaring twenties, it is a wicked fairytale of circus tricks and child prodigies, radical chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians and brooding clowns, set in an underworld whose economy hinges on the price of a kiss. It is the tale of two dreamers, abandoned in an orphanage where they were fated to meet. Here, in the face of cold, hunger and unpredictable beatings, Rose and Pierrot create a world of their own, shielding the spark of their curiosity from those whose jealousy will eventually tear them apart. When they meet again, each will have changed, having struggled through the Depression, through what they have done to fill the absence of the other. But their childhood vision remains - a dream to storm the world, a spectacle, an extravaganza that will lift them out of the gutter and onto a glittering stage. Heather O'Neill's pyrotechnical imagination and language are like no other. In this she has crafted a dazzling circus of a novel that takes us from the underbellies of war-time Montreal and Prohibition New York, to a theatre of magic where anything is possible - where an orphan girl can rule the world, and a ruined innocence can be redeemed.

Quercus

The Christmas Guest

Daisy Bell
Authors:
Daisy Bell