All Rivers Run Free
By Natasha Carthew
A lyrical novel in the vein of Sara Baume and Eimear McBride, about marginalisation, mental illness and the power of nature and motherhood in restoring hope
A woman on the edge of the sea finds a girl on the edge of life.
Brittle but not yet broken, Ia Pendilly ekes out a fierce life in a caravan on the coast of Cornwall. In years of living with Bran - her embattled, battering cousin and common law husband - she's never yet had her own baby. So when she discovers the waif washed up on the shore, Ia takes the risk and rescues her. And the girl, in turn, will rescue something in Ia - bringing back a memory she's lost, giving her the strength to escape, and leading her on a journey downriver.
It will take her into the fringes of a society she's shunned, collapsed around its own isolation. It will take her through a valley ravaged by floods, into a world not too far from reckoning. It will take her in search of her sister, and the dark remembrance of their parting. It will take her, break her, remake her, in the shapes of freedom.
Natasha Carthew is a startling new voice from beyond the limits of common urban experience. She tells a tale of marginalisation and motherhood in prose that crashes like waves on rocks; rough, breathless and beautiful.
Natasha Carthew has been published previously as a poet and young adult writer and her books have been nominated for the Carnegie Award and shortlisted for several national awards including the Branford Boase. She lives in Cornwall with her girlfriend of twenty years and spends most of her time writing outdoors in all weathers. Her identity as a country writer has led her to become a survival expert, a trained walking-guide and to teach Wild Writing workshops.
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- Publication date:
19 Apr 2018
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Raw, passionate, hallucinatory. Carthew allows us to hear the living cadence of Kernow, its unique, rugged beauty. I feel I have been wild swimming - reading All Rivers Run Free was to be lured by an edgy siren voice of fierce womanhood across the cultural boundary of the Tamar; immersed in the resonance of Cornwall's ancient mysteries and rebellious heart, and to wish never to have to leave again. — Rachel Holmes
Reading the opening pages of Natasha Carthew's All Rivers Run Free is akin to learning another language. The prose, at first, is like nothing you've seen before, but you quickly forget you weren't always fluent and are soon captivated by its poetry, its tidal rhythms, its beat. With a Cormac McCarthy-esque ear for dialogue and an eye for the mystical narrative of the natural world, Carthew has written a speculative tale that, from page one, takes you by the hand and whispers: come with me. You have no choice but to follow. — Sarah Leipciger