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Larchfield

Larchfield

‘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.

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Modern & Contemporary Fiction (post C 1945)

On Sale: 23rd March 2017

Price: £8.99

ISBN-13: 9781786481948

Reviews

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
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
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
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
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
Bookbag
Stunning . . . I was lost in this moving and gripping study of isolation
Woman and Home
A beautifully written debut about outsiders, creativity and motherhood
Red
A mesmerising time-slip tale . . . a beautiful, poetic story
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
The Times
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.
Irish Times
An impeccably told story of isolation and creativity, it's as involving as a thriller.
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
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
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
Independent
Elegant . . . Clark has written a measured and graceful novel; this is particularly true of the way she handles Dora's gradual unravelling.
Observer
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