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
This is a mysterious, wondrous, captivating book
A story beautifully and passionately rendered
Wonderful characters and set pieces
The sense of danger hanging over the characters kept me reading until past midnight
A deft and moving portrayal of isolation
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.
Brava brava! Most satisfying thing I've read this year. Beautiful.
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.
The one to watch, according to
This lyrical novel about the poet WH Auden and a young mother is captivating
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
An atmospheric, haunting time-slip novel about a new mother struggling to survive in a claustrophobic town where poet WH Auden lived
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.
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
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
Striking . . . Clark, a TS Eliot Prize-Shortlisted poet, writes beautifully
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
A haunting read, this novel charts the bravery that allows unusual people to transcend banality and suffering with the power of their imagination
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
Stunning . . . I was lost in this moving and gripping study of isolation
A beautifully written debut about outsiders, creativity and motherhood
A mesmerising time-slip tale . . . a beautiful, poetic story
Clark has a wonderful eye for detail and a light comic touch . . . A funny, poised, and affecting meditation on the healing power of poetry
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.
An impeccably told story of isolation and creativity, it's as involving as a thriller.
This quietly beautiful and hugely atmospheric novel is as rich as it is compelling
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
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.
A book one doesn't want to put down
A magnificent book - haunting and beautifully written
Congratulations on Larchfield! Helpful imaginary Auden, beset wife, evil upstairsers: gripping turf wars of the mind!
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.
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
Elegant . . . Clark has written a measured and graceful novel; this is particularly true of the way she handles Dora's gradual unravelling.
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