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‘Raw, passionate, hallucinatory’ Rachel Holmes
‘Extraordinary, beautiful and wild allegory for our times’ Katharine Norbury
‘Hypnotic and powerful’ Fanny Blake, Daily Mail

A woman on the edge of the sea finds a girl on the edge of life.

On the flooded coast of Cornwall, Ia Pendilly ekes out a fierce life in a childless marriage, as rough and stubborn as the sea. When a strange young girl washes up on the beach, Ia’s rescue is only the beginning of a dangerous journey ­- one that will take them downriver, into the fringes of a collapsing society and for Ia, towards something she hopes might be love.

A vision of the near-future and an odyssey of motherhood, All Rivers Run Free is a true original from a powerful new voice..


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
A beautiful, uncanny and mysterious novel. The haunting, flooded landscapes combine with Carthew's fluid use of language to create a tidal wash of memory, grief, birth and death. The future portrayed here is dark and fierce, but it's ultimately a story of human resilience and hope
Jane Rusbridge, author of Rook
In a novel soaked in spray of the North Atlantic, Natasha Carthew conjures up a Cornwall both familiar and frighteningly alien. Hers is a powerful evocation of a bleak future, glimpsed through the mizzle and the sea fret, in which brief moments of tenderness are all the more resonant for their rarity.
Wyl Menmuir, Booker Prize-longlisted author of the The Many
Has a raw, impactful presence to it - a primal energy that both drives and grounds her characters, and provides the book with a meaty sense of presence that ultimately leads to it being both highly enjoyable and extremely fulfilling . . . A compelling read from a considerable talent, the raw and wild powers of All Rivers Run Free will, I hope, sweep you away
Luke Marlowe, Bookbag
Carthew's rough lyricism pulls you into its tides and rhythms taking you on an extraordinary journey into the wilds of Cornwall and the wilds of a woman's heart. Fierce, raw and compelling, All Rivers Run Free grabs your heart and doesn't let go. A remarkable book - furious, fragile and courageous.
Tor Udall, author of A Thousand Paper Birds
A dark and dystopian narrative . . . Carthew's impossibly pretty prose. She's a poet, you know-and oh, it shows!
Niall Alexander, Tor.com
Natasha Carthew has written an extraordinary, beautiful and wild allegory for our times. All Rivers Run Free is a vision of our world before the flood, a new flood, where sea levels are rising, where rivers spill their banks, and where society has broken into feral, marauding factions. It is a frightening and close-at-hand possible future, where nothing is familiar, everything is corrupted, but where the exquisite flame of one woman's hope still flickers, carried in language as rare and new as the dystopian Britain that it describes.
Katharine Norbury, author of The Fish Ladder
The rhythm of the language is hypnotic and the powerful imagery takes over. The raw energy and beauty of the landscape are particularly well-evoked
Fanny Blake, Daily Mail
Underpinned by a fractured syntax, the narrative sparkles and startles with a whipcrack intensity. A novel of unforgettably rugged beauty.
The Countryman
Written in lyrical yet unpolished, childlike prose befitting a narrator whose childhood was spent in violent isolation
Antonia Charlesworth, Big Issue
In a style reminiscent of Eimear McBride . . .an Atwoodian dystopia . . . Carthew achieves something rather unique. An interesting mixture of the sort of hardcore, innovative literary fiction and more commercial fiction with great readability
Tommi Laine, Helsinki Book Review