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Moss, Sarah Night Waking ISBN 13: 9781847082701

Night Waking - Softcover

 
9781847082701: Night Waking
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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.

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About the Author:
SARAH MOSS was educated at Oxford University and is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. She is the author of two novels; Cold Earth (Granta 2010), and Night Waking, which was selected for the Fiction Uncovered Award in 2011, and she is the co-author of Chocolate: A Global History. She spent 2009-10 as a visiting lecturer at the University of Reykjavik.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The swans are by the shore, drifting bright as paper cutouts

against waves blurred by dusk. They spend the night

murmuring oboe harmonies to each other, a woodwind of

reassurance. Ordinary swans, the Queen’s swans on the river

where we feed the ducks at home, have faces apparently

afflicted by some medieval disease, and sleep standing on one

leg, heads under their wings like child-free passengers on

long-haul flights who can summon night with a nylon blindfold.

These sea swans seem to stay awake all night, sailing

through the fading light like ships bound for far countries, and

they have faces as smooth and neutral as the corps de ballet, faces

that can’t communicate any level of grief or pain. Perhaps this

is an asset in species that mate for life.

I glance back at the house. Its façade, dark as the cliff-face

at the other end of the island, turns away from the after-light

shining over the sea, from where America is coming up for a

new day as we turn away from the sun. One of the swans

stretches towards the sky and cries out, wings threshing the water

in sudden agitation like that of someone who has just remembered

that a friend is dead. I saw a goose dying, once, a Canada

goose that had flown all the way from the Arctic to end its life on

the hard shoulder of the M40, and although one wing was still

beating as if to music while the other lay across the rumble-strip,

its face was impassive. I stood on the footbridge, watching, joggling

the pram in which the baby would sleep only for as long

as we kept moving, until some lorry driver, merciful or inattentive,

left a flurry of feathers and red jam on the road. Our swans

are safe from that, here. For a season. Like us, they will go south

in the autumn, but for now there are no cars, no roads. No

bridges, either. The stars are coming out in the darkening sky

over the hill. I shiver; not cold, exactly, but time to go in.

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  • PublisherGranta Books
  • Publication date2012
  • ISBN 10 184708270X
  • ISBN 13 9781847082701
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages384
  • Rating

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9781847082152: Night Waking

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ISBN 10:  1847082157 ISBN 13:  9781847082152
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