The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again
M. John Harrison
*WINNER OF THE GOLDSMITHS PRIZE 2020*
*A New Statesman Book of the Year*
‘A mesmerising, mysterious book . . . Haunting. Worrying. Beautiful’ Russell T. Davis
‘Brilliantly unsettling’ Olivia Laing
‘A magificent book’ Neil Gaiman
‘An extraordinary experience’ William Gibson
Winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2020, this is fiction that pushes the boundaries of the novel form.
Shaw had a breakdown, but he’s getting himself back together. He has a single room, a job on a decaying London barge, and an on-off affair with a doctor’s daughter called Victoria, who claims to have seen her first corpse at age thirteen.
It’s not ideal, but it’s a life. Or it would be if Shaw hadn’t got himself involved in a conspiracy theory that, on dark nights by the river, seems less and less theoretical…
Meanwhile, Victoria is up in the Midlands, renovating her dead mother’s house, trying to make new friends. But what, exactly, happened to her mother? Why has the local waitress disappeared into a shallow pool in a field behind the house? And why is the town so obsessed with that old Victorian morality tale, The Water Babies?
As Shaw and Victoria struggle to maintain their relationship, the sunken lands are rising up again, unnoticed in the shadows around them.
M. John Harrison's masterpiece * Frances Wilson, New Statesman * Brilliantly unsettling * Olivia Laing * Slippery and dreamlike, a profoundly and eerily disquieting experience . . . future critics will find in his writing a distinct, clear-eyed vision of late-twentieth and early-twenty-first-century life * J.S. Barnes, Times Literary Supplement * As ominous and bizarre as the title suggests. This funny, unsettling book is better left undescribed, but 'post-Brexit England haunted by green fish-people growing out of toilet bowls' should, uh, whet the appetite -- Rory Scothorne * New Statesman Books of the year * Treads the line between realism and fantasy with immense assurance and draws a portrait of watery, post-Brexit Britain that brings shivers of both unease and recognition -- Jonathan Coe, author of international bestseller Middle England * New Statesman Books of the year * A stunning masterpiece * Paul Cornell * One of the best writers of fiction currently at work in English * Robert MacFarlane * Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and like much of Harrison's works, there are scenes of such sublime strangeness that they linger in the mind long after the novel is over. As such it is another triumph from one of our finest writers, and essential reading for 2020 * Fantasy Hive * Unset tling, brilliant, and pretty much unlike anything anyone else is doing. * Locus * Harrison is a linguistic artist, constructing sentences that wrap and weave like a stream of consciousness without ever breaking focus. * Sci-Fi Paradise * This excellent book may be the most unsettling piece of fiction you read this year... * Shiny New Books * Masterful and deeply affecting. * Locus Magazine * [There is] beauty and precision of [Harrison's] psychogeographic prose. 9.4/10. * Fantasy Book Review * A deeply unsettling fever dream of a novel. 4.5 out of 5. * SFX * Richly textured...slippery and seedy. * The Spectator * Harrison's unsettling and melancholy novel, gritted with farce and dreadful laughter, shouts award-winner on every page. * The Times * The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again is a novel so good all the usual reviewerish superlatives barely seem superlative enough. -- Adam Roberts * Sibilant Fricative * Uncanny and exquisite * Morning Star * Harrison is a linguistic artist, constructing sentences that wrap and weave like a stream of consciousness without ever breaking focus...every sentence is a decadent bite of a new sensation * Sci Fi Now * One of the strangest and most unsettling novels of the year * The Herald * Like reading Thomas Pynchon underwater, this is a book of alienation, atmosphere, half glimpsed revelation - and some of the most beautiful writing you'll ever encounter. * Daily Mail * Unsettling and insinuating, fabulously alert to the spaces between things, Harrison is without peer as a chronicler of the fraught, unsteady state we're in. * The Guardian *
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