‘I will go wherever she takes me. A phenomenal book’ DAISY JOHNSON
‘A brilliant, scalding novel … sharp, intricately layered, impossible to forget’ MEGAN HUNTER
‘Stunning … beautifully written and deeply unsettling’ BOOKSELLER, EDITOR’S CHOICE
CHOSEN AS A 2021 BOOK TO LOOK OUT FOR BY OBSERVER, INDEPENDENT, FINANCIAL TIMES, EVENING STANDARD, GRAZIA, STYLIST, ELLE THE NATIONAL, FIVE BOOKS AND BURO
A couple drive from London to coastal Provence. Anya is preoccupied with what she feels is a relationship on the verge; unequal, precarious. Luke, reserved, stoic, gives away nothing. As the sun sets one evening, he proposes, and they return to London engaged.
But planning a wedding does little to settle Anya’s unease. As a child, she escaped from Sarajevo, and the idea of security is as alien now as it was then. When social convention forces Anya to return, she begins to change. The past she sought to contain for as long as she can remember resurfaces, and the hot summer builds to a startling climax.
Lean, sly and unsettling, Asylum Road is about the many borders governing our lives: between men and women, assimilation and otherness, nations, families, order and chaos.
What happens, and who do we become, when they break down?
Sudjic seems to be writing not with words but somehow with the absences between them. This book feels like the breakdown not only of a character but of, as you read, the reader. I will go wherever she takes me. A phenomenal book * Daisy Johnson * A brilliant, scalding novel that is both intimate and restless, restrained and unpredictable. Sudjic’s prose is as elegant and searching as ever; her evocation of trauma and longing is sharp, intricately layered, impossible to forget * Megan Hunter * I can safely say that no one conjures anxiety like Olivia Sudjic. She has written a strange and sophisticated novel, and the experience of inhabiting the mind of her narrator is both terrifying and numinous * Avni Doshi * Olivia Sudjic’s powerful novel pulses with the strange, fragmented, apocalyptic rhythms of our uneasy present and uncertain future. Visceral and tender, brutal and unspeakably alive, Asylum Road digs into the soft heart of our hard times, into intimacies upended by the anthropocene and pulled taught by omnipresent crisis * Alexandra Kleeman * Sudjic singularly conveys a feeling so specific to our time – a feeling only her prose can name, and which the reader will instantly recognize. The unsettled, unsettling atmosphere of this book resonates perfectly with its larger states of migration – to or from one’s history, one’s nation, one’s loved ones; away from or towards one’s darkest impulses. Smart, edgy and exacting, Asylum Road leaves so much unsaid, and shows us the consequences of that’ * Caoilinn Hughes * Bold, astonishing and original. Sudjic explores relationships in post-Brexit Britain with her trademark precision and lyricism * Zeba Talkhani * Asylum Road is an exceptionally intelligent, sensitive, and thoughtful novel about 21st century life. With subtlety and control, Sudjic powerfully examines the consequences of Brexit, immigration, and historical trauma. With the energy of a thriller and an emotionally raw finale reminiscent of Elena Ferrante, Asylum Road is a very special book indeed * Julianne Pachico * Writing with the offbeat intensity of Deborah Levy, Sudjic offers a discomforting dissection of one woman’s fractured identity. Atmospheric and unflinching, Asylum Road reveals how the places we seek refuge can ultimately prove to be as toxic as the traumas we flee * Ruth Gilligan * A swelter of trauma and neurosis, Asylum Road is a thrilling, bruising read. Sudjic’s prose scythes through political, sexual and class constructs to expose the cruel and fatuous power plays that can undo us at any moment * Shiromi Pinto * Asylum Road masterfully probes the tensions between the identities we inherit and identities we craft. Sudjic’s writing coagulates feelings of anxiety and insecurity into an embodied, wrought and visceral experience. Asylum Road is that rare novel that dares to probe at uncomfortable questions without flinching from the unwelcome answers that are revealed * Alex Allison *
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