The Stars Are Not Yet Bells
Hannah Lillith Assadi
‘A heartbreaking and profoundly visionary book.’ Emily Fridlund, author of History of Wolves
‘The poetic beauty of the writing and a certain swirling Gothic passion and drama bowl the reader along… An unusual, intense, experimental novel’ Daily Mail
It is the end of the Great Depression and Elle Ranier believes that by marrying her wealthy husband Simon she is saving her life. Young and impressionable, she is unable to foresee the true cost of her decision. Instead, she leaves everything she has known in New York City to live in a vine-covered mansion on the tangled shores of Lyra, an island off America’s southeastern coast. There, amid the wild horses, oak woods and rumours of jewels hidden beneath the water, Elle harbours a secret. Her so-called ‘cousin’ Gabriel, who comes to stay, is really a boyfriend from back home and the love of her life.
In subsequent years, when Elle and Simon raise a family and face a less than idyllic relationship, Elle can never forget her brief dalliance with Gabriel. Even fifty years later, when her memory recedes into the mists of Alzheimer’s disease, she is haunted by his fate. With her mind a maze of questions about long-buried stories, the bewitching island of Lyra might eventually bring answers to light.
‘A prophetic fever dream sprung from a singular imagination. Hannah Lillith Assadi is an incomparable stylist and a fearless storyteller. This novel is a lush, addicting, daring wonder’ Claire Vaye Watkins, author of I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness
Darkly romantic and beautifully immersive, The Stars Are Not Yet Bells pulls us into a story about the limits of memory and people we can never forget.
A heartbreaking and profoundly visionary book. Hannah Assadi movingly renders the kaleidoscopic nature of memory-revealing not only one woman's disordered heart and mind, but the way our consciousness recombines shards of memory to create a glittering, prismatic view of a life. I wanted to stay in Assadi's shimmering sentences for as long as I could. * Emily Fridlund, author of History of Wolves * Assadi captivates the senses, compelling readers to pause and reflect as they progress through the story. Highly recommended for those who enjoy lyrical fiction that explores women's inner lives. * Booklist * Enchanted and haunting narration * The Millions * A story of love and loss * Harper's Bazaar (US) * A prophetic fever dream sprung from a singular imagination. Hannah Lillith Assadi is an incomparable stylist and a fearless storyteller. This novel is a lush, addicting, daring wonder -- Claire Vaye Watkins, author of I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness A luminous and deeply moving portrait of the end of life and the persistence of desire. While Hannah Lillith Assadi's characters are forced to deny the truth of themselves and who they love, in her assured hands the extraordinary beauty of life and love and the natural world is never lost -- JoAnne Tompkins, author of What Comes After A rich, mesmerizing novel, in which waves of overlapping memory erode the landscape of a woman's life until only feeling remains-both in the story and in the reader -- Simon Van Booy, author of The Illusion of Separateness
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