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The Shutter of Snow (Faber Editions)

Emily Holmes Coleman

Introduced by Claire-Louise Bennett, experience one new mother’s psychological journey in this lost 1930 foremother of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

16 in stock

£9.99£8.99
Format
Paperback
ISBN
9780571375202
Date Published
02.02.2023
Delivery
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Summary

Introduced by Claire-Louise Bennett, experience one new mother’s psychological journey in this lost 1930 foremother of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

‘Astonishing and moving. A pretty amazing book.’ Tessa Hadley
‘Extraordinary. A fascinating and unexpected delight.’ Lucy Ellmann
‘Haunting and evocative, this is a timeless portrayal of madness.’ Catherine Cho
‘A startling, luminous and magnetic novel about the complexity of motherhood.’ Yiyun Li
‘With its deep musicality, Coleman’s unforgettable voice was years ahead of its time.’ Sinéad Gleeson

The only thing to do is to put hammers in the porridge and when there are enough hammers we shall break down the windows and all of us shall dance in the snow.

Some days, Marthe Gail believes she is God; others, Jesus Christ. Her baby, she thinks, is dead. The red light is shining. There are bars on the window. And the voices keep talking.

Time blurs; snow falls. The doctors say it is a breakdown; that this is Gorestown State Hospital. Her fellow patients become friends and enemies, moving between the Day Room and Dining Hall, East Hall and West Side, avoiding the Strong Room. Her husband visits and shows her a lock of her baby’s hair, but she doesn’t remember, yet – until she can make it upstairs, ascending towards release …

Shocking and hilarious, tragic and visceral, this experimental portrait of motherhood and mental illness written in 1930 has never felt more visionary.

Critic Reviews

A daring and accomplished wordsmith, Coleman recounts the inimitable splintering of memory, identity, and body that a breakdown causes [in] some of the most exquisite and unnerving prose I’ve ever read.

Claire-Louise Bennett
Critic Reviews

An extraordinary novel. What a fascinating and unexpected delight. Coleman shows how women might write if we were free – and how murderous we’d be.

Lucy Ellmann
Critic Reviews

Astonishing and moving ... The sheer force of her memories exacted an impressive precision and solidity in her expression. And she must have felt the electricity of her novel, as she was writing it, in both directions: channeling the truth of an extraordinary experience, and at the same time satisfying a radical modernist aesthetic, turning the sane world upside down and making out of her 'madness' a new literature ... A manic dry wit, an exuberant energy ... A pretty amazing book ... There are Jean Rhys-like moments.

Tessa Hadley
Critic Reviews

Haunting and evocative, this is a timeless portrayal of madness, capturing the terror and loneliness of being untethered from reality.

Catherine Cho
Critic Reviews

A claustrophobic, skittish whirl of a book that flits between motherhood and madness. With a deep musicality of its own, Coleman's unique voice was years ahead of its time. Unforgettable.

Sinéad Gleeson
Critic Reviews

A startling, luminous and magnetic novel about the complexity of motherhood.

Yiyun Li