Erica Wagner
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ISBN 9780571227594 Format Paperback
Published 05/04/2007 Length 240 pages

About Book

Janet grew up with her father; her mother, she was always told, died when she was three. Her father's stories were of her mother's beauty, their early love - tales stopping short of tragedy. But now, living an ocean away from her childhood home, she unexpectedly inherits a house. The house had belonged to her mother, who in fact lived long into Janet's adulthood. In a state of shock she travels north with the key: and finds an old stone cottage at the sea's edge. She presumes it will be empty. It is not.

Tom was raised by his mother, travelling from one place to another, never settling, his only stability the stories she told him - stories of shapeshifters, danger, impossible love. Now he hides away in an old stone cottage at the sea's edge, waiting for the woman he knows will come.

Here is a world of truth and terror, where lives and stories become so interwoven that in the end, all distinctions are lost. Janet and Tom are possessed by their stories: can they possess each other, too?

Erica Wagner's charged prose pulses with an intensity that will leave the reader breathless. This long-awaited first novel will establish her as one of the most powerful literary voices of her generation.

  • About Erica Wagner

    Erica Wagner was born in New York City. She moved to Britain in the 1980s and now lives in London; she is consulting literary editor for Harper’s Bazaar, a contributing writer for The New Statesman, and writes for other publications including The Economist, The New York Times and Vogue; for many years she was literary editor of The Times.

    Her books are Gravity (Granta), Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and the Story of Birthday Letters (Faber & Faber) and a novel, Seizure (Faber & Faber). She co-authored a performance piece, Pas de Deux, with storyteller Abbi Patrix and musician Linda Edsjö, which is still performed around the world. She is at work on a biography of Washington Roebling, builder of the Brooklyn Bridge, to be published by Bloomsbury. Her stories have been widely anthologised and been broadcast on the radio; her poems have appeared in The TLS and PNReview.

    She is a highly regarded interviewer of such writers as Seamus Heaney, Donna Tartt, Margaret Atwood, Maurice Sendak, Philip Pullman, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Gitta Sereny, Paul Auster, Alan Garner, Peter Ackroyd, Bill Bryson, Sarah Waters, Kazuo Ishiguro and Nick Hornby -- as well as Harrison Ford, Michelle Williams, Harry Belafonte and Buzz Aldrin. She has been a guest on such programmes as Today, Front Row, The Culture Show, and (in the USA) Charlie Rose and Larry King Live.

    She has judged many literary prizes; the Man Booker in 2002 and 2014, the Orange Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Forward Prize. She won the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence Award in 2014. When she’s not writing, she’s reading -- or cooking, or just sometimes watching Vikings, Deadwood, or The Good Wife.

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