SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018
LONGLISTED FOR THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE 2019
‘A stunning debut’ Guardian
In Jessie Greengrass’ superb debut novel, our unnamed narrator recounts her progress to motherhood, while remembering the death of her own mother ten years before, and the childhood summers she spent with her psychoanalyst grandmother.
Woven among these personal recollections are significant events in medical history: Wilhelm Roentgen’s discovery of the X-ray; Sigmund Freud’s development of psychoanalysis and the work that he did with his daughter, Anna; and the origins of modern surgery and the anatomy of pregnant bodies.
Sight is a novel about being a parent and a child: what it is like to bring a person in to the world, and what it is to let one go. Exquisitely written and fiercely intelligent, it is an incisive exploration of how we see others, and how we might know ourselves.
I read Sight with so much ache and admiration. It isn't just the painful subject matter - how it feels to be both a mother and a daughter, looking in two directions at once, watching one life begin while grieving the end of another. It's the lyricism of the prose, and the way the philosophical, essayistic portions of the novel gradually take on a quality of desperation, as if they're the narrator's attempt to codify and control the chaos of the human body. In many ways Greengrass reminds me of Virginia Woolf - in her intelligence and scope of interest, and in her evocative ability to capture a single consciousness, all while seemingly re-inventing the novel form. Sight is a beautiful debut, and Greengrass is an important new voice in fiction * Jamie Quatro, author of Fire Sermon * There are echoes of WG Sebald and Rachel Cusk in this thoughtful, digressive style that swirls together the historical and the personal, but Greengrass's questing intellect and elegant prose are all her own * Guardian, 50 Books to Read Now * An exceptional debut novel . . . The prose is unsentimental, measured, breathtaking in its elegance, but never precious or mannered. Paragraphs over several pages, page-long sentences, move with extraordinary cadence towards devastatingly bathetic or utterly heartbreaking conclusions . . . And the book is also about, in part, the necessity of that separation; the ongoing and ever-unfinished coming into being of a person. It brings all these things together, loosely and delicately, in a way that is unexpectedly and remarkably moving * The Spectator * As a meditation on parenthood, grief and the awareness that knowledge can be both wondrous and terrifying, Sight is an exceptionally accomplished debut * Observer * The author of an award-winning short story collection, An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It, Greengrass adapts to the novel format with enviable flexibility . . . Greengrass writes stunningly about the experience of pregnancy and motherhood * Guardian * I honestly can't remember the last time I read a novel so near to perfection, so full of grace. With every page I was in awe of the author's sense of pace, her attention to nuance, the acuity of feeling and clarity of reflection * Sara Baume * A very intriguing, challenging novel . . . very moving * Toby Lichtig * Greengrass reminds me of Virginia Woolf - in her intelligence and scope of interest, and in her evocative ability to capture a single consciousness, all while seemingly re-inventing the novel form. Sight is a beautiful debut, and Greengrass is an important new voice in fiction * Jamie Quatro, author of Fire Sermon * This book blew me away. It is beautiful and devastating and perfectly formed * Daisy Johnson * One of the finest English novels I've read... It is exquisitely well-assembled and every page has a line of pure underline-for-later brilliance * Max Porter * Written in gorgeous, crystalline prose, Sight is a moving exploration of perception and wonder * Dazed * Beautiful to read . . . wise and insightful . . . completely compelling * Monocle * Fascinating . . . Greengrass is a master of subtlety . . . [it is] wonderful in terms of its execution, a very self-contained and meticulously planned tale that is very effective and moving * Wormhole * A terrific writer . . . it's hard not to be blown away by the sheer brilliance of the work and her ability as a wordsmith * Storgy * An insightful novel that explores relatable issues and fascinating themes, but also stands out as a work of art * The Lady * This singularly introspective book is a stimulating read . . . a spectacularly written novel * Book Riot * Cerebral and tender, Greengrass' voice is smart and original * Elle * Jessie Greengrass's first book . . . won plaudits for its incisive, compelling prose. Greengrass brings the same power to her debut novel, Sight * Radio Times * A self-consciously good writer * The Times * A masterly tale . . . [an] outstanding first novel * TLS * Remarkable and affecting * Literary Review * A slow burning, beautifully written debut . . . accomplished and melancholic * Irish Times * A slight and wondrous tale * New Statesman * Greengrass's fiercely cerebral despatch from one of life's most extraordinary rites of passage impresses linguistically, intellectually and emotionally * Mail on Sunday * This is a first novel - an original one by a writer who clearly has considerable gifts and a serious, nuanced approach to individual psychology and intellectual history * Financial Times * Exceptional . . . The prose is unsentimental, measured, breathtaking in its elegance . . . remarkably moving * The Spectator * The poise, intelligence and serious intent of Sight will be lauded, and rightly so. I would not be surprised to see it on heavyweight prize lists * Sunday Times * An exceptionally accomplished debut * Observer * Precise and moving . . . The pages on the mother's decline are a masterclass in wrenching, pitiless truth . . . the potted stories of Roentgen, Freud and Hunter form a fluid, richly associative historic narrative of investigation into the body and the mind, about seeking constantly to expand the borders of what we can see * Daily Telegraph **** * A stunning debut * Guardian *
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