LONGLISTED FOR THE DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE 2012
Along Cornwall’s ancient coast, from time to time, the flotsam and jetsam of the past can become caught in the cross-currents of the present and a certain kind of magic floats to the surface… Straying husbands lured into the sea can be fetched back, for a fee. Houses creak, fill with water and keep a fretful watch on their inhabitants. And, on a windy beach, a small boy and his grandmother keep despair at bay with an old white door. In these stories, hopes, regrets and memories are entangled with catfish, wreckers’ lamps and baying hounds as Cornish folklore slips into everyday life.
Utterly different in every way from Keret, in their Angela Carter-ish Englishness, but equally compelling -- Erica Wagner The Times Wood's finely wrought collection has touches of a benign Angela Carter and recalls the playful yet political transmogrifications of Atwood and Byatt Guardian [A] refreshing debut collection about seasiders young and old ... A winning combination of spooky mystery and toast-and-tea cosiness, with much warmth and tenderness, even as an unsettling quality remains, as if Wood might be enjoying a joke you can't quite figure out Metro These stories are brilliantly uncanny: not because of the ghosts and giants and talking birds which haunt their margins, but because of what those unsettling presences mean for the very human characters at their centre ... A startling, and startlingly good, debut Jon McGregor Wood's imagination is extraordinary; she has an instinct for the inner meanings of myths that echoes the great Angela Carter. Superb -- Kate Saunders The Times Cornish folklore for the modern day done in a beautiful, spooky way Harper's Bazaar Lucy Wood has an intensity and clarity of expression, deeply rooted in a sense of place. Her stories have a purity and strength, and an underlying human warmth; they resonate in the mind Philip Hensher Each year, book blurbs tell you that a thousand new writers have fresh, distinctive voices. But fresh, distinctive voices are actually very rare. Lucy Wood has one Michel Faber These are stories from the places where magic and reality meet. It is as if the Cornish moors and coasts have whispered secrets into Lucy Wood's ears and, in response, she has fashioned exquisite tales of mystery and humanity. In her prose, the fabulous moves across the everyday like the surf moving over the shore, shifting it in subtle measures, leaving it altered in its wake Ali Shaw, author of The Girl with Glass Feet A vibrant new voice Tatler Magical and bewitching Vogue Just when you think the world must be running out of good titles for books, along comes the lovely and intriguing Diving Belles - and the book doesn't disappoint, either. Lucy Wood's twelve short stories bring an offbeat magic-realist touch to modern Cornwall ... Throughout the collection, Wood pulls off a careful balancing act between fantasy and reality, folkloric past and prosaic present -- Phil Baker Sunday Times This bewitching short story collection draws its power from a deft blend of Cornish folklore and everyday contemporary cares ... magic encroaches upon their narratives as slowly but surely as the incoming tide, so that even the most outlandish goings-on come to seem natural -- Hephzibah Anderson Daily Mail Steeped in enchantments and shimmering with an infusion of the area's folklore and landscape ... excellent -- Daneet Steffens Independent on Sunday
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