The Voice in My Ear
‘Superbly written and fearlessly imagined fiction’ Sarah Hall
Ten women, all called Claire, are tangled up in complex power dynamics with their families, friends, and lovers. Though all are different ages, and leading different lives, each is haunted by the difficulty of living on her own terms.
Claire is a teenaged babysitter left alone with a strange little girl and her imaginary friend. Claire is a woman trying to escape her elderly mother by employing an android carer. Claire is a young TV journalist wrecking her first big interview. Claire’s boyfriend discovers more than he bargains for when he begins to read her diary.
And whatever she does, Claire is always living in the shadow of a monstrous mother.
‘Leviston is a mistress of precision and emotional insight’ Hilary Mantel, TLS
[The Voice in My Ear has] a psychological and emotional coherence unusual for a story collection... You can feel the subtext pulse between the lines and occasionally, thrillingly, it surges onto the page... Extraordinary... Leviston is so skilled at noticing and cataloguing the emotional abrasion of being a daughter, the toll of motherhood and love's ability to wound... But these responses are matched, and exceeded, by the admiration, excitement and exhilaration provoked by what she achieves on the page. -- Chris Power * Sunday Times * Frances Leviston's debut work of fiction positively knocked my socks off. Each of the 10 stories in The Voice in My Ear is about a different woman called Claire - an apt appellation for characters illuminating aspects of modern life... She has triumphantly succeeded in turning a poetic perceptivity to the [short story] form. -- Mia Levitin * Financial Times * It's hard to explain how good this fiction debut by Frances Leviston is... So thrilling... Outstandingly well written. -- Claire Harman * Times Literary Supplement *Books of the Year* * Brilliant, bracing... Dazzling... One of the many triumphs of this original, peculiarly truthful book is to leave us questioning what kindness is and what care is, no longer able to take the platitudes of daily life for granted also unwilling to leave them behind. -- Lara Feigel * Guardian * I loved it. I absolutely loved it. It felt like a choose your own adventure version of somebody's life... I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed it. It's a writer putting herself through her paces - it's showing us what she can do and I'm really excited to see what she does next. -- Naomi Alderman * BBC Radio 4 Front Row *
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