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Historian Anna Bennett has a book to write. She also has an insomniac toddler, a precocious, death-obsessed seven-year-old, and a frequently absent ecologist husband who has brought them all to Colsay, a desolate island in the Hebrides, so he can count the puffins. Ferociously sleep-deprived, torn between mothering and her desire for the pleasures of work and solitude, Anna becomes haunted by the discovery of a baby’s skeleton in the garden of their house. Her narrative is punctuated by letters home, written 200 years before, by May, a young, middle-class midwife desperately trying to introduce modern medicine to the suspicious, insular islanders. The lives of these two characters intersect unexpectedly in this deeply moving but also at times blackly funny story about maternal ambivalence, the way we try to control children, and about women’s vexed and passionate relationship with work. Moss’s second novel displays an exciting expansion of her range – showing her to be both an excellent comic writer and a novelist of great emotional depth.
Tartly humorous, sad and clever ... a passionately written meditation on motherhood, with all the monotony, desperation and visceral feelings faithfully recorded - Elizabeth Buchan, "Sunday Times" Moss writes marvellously (and often hilariously) about the clash between career and motherhood. Allison Pearson for intellectuals -"The Times" Fresh and illuminating... [Sarah] Moss is a wry, winning guide - G"uardian" Highly enjoyable... The upbeat conclusion to this blend of middle-class satire, historical fiction and campus novel does not soften Moss's withering take on sexism and her stark view of motherhood - "Daily Telegraph" An original and accomplished novel - D"aily Mail" Sarah Moss's debut, Cold Earth, was a stylish thriller set on a remote archaeological dig in Greenland. Here she takes the emotional isolation of early parenthood as her subject, intensifying the experience by transplanting a young family to a remote Scottish island ... In her previous book, a character noted that there was ""some peace in having a kind of room of my own, even if it is a grave."" This latest work explores the concept further with some startling results' -" Independent" Sarah Moss weaves in perceptions about motherhood, attitudes to children and attempts to improve the world... she demonstrates that she can handle a darkly comic narrative with the best of them - although Night Waking is much more than that - "Metro" Witty with dark humour ... Moss manages to wave the threads together quite expertly at the end -" Herald""
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