The electrifying debut from the White Review Prize winner
Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award
'Thrilling . . . A writer whose next move you wouldn’t want to miss.' Observer
'Wickedly clever prose and a sense of humour that seems to loom up like a character in itself' M JOHN HARRISON, Guardian
In her brilliantly inventive and haunting debut collection of stories, Julia Armfield explores bodies and the bodily, mapping the skin and bones of her characters through their experiences of isolation, obsession, love and revenge.
Teenagers develop ungodly appetites, a city becomes insomniac overnight, and bodies are diligently picked apart to make up better ones. The mundane worlds of schools and sleepy sea-side towns are invaded and transformed, creating a landscape which is constantly shifting to hold on to its inhabitants. Blurring the mythic and the gothic with the everyday, Salt Slow considers characters in motion – turning away, turning back or simply turning into something new entirely.
Winner of The White Review Short Story Prize 2018, Armfield is a writer of sharp, lyrical prose and tilting dark humour – Salt Slow marks the arrival of an ambitious and singular new voice.
'Salt Slow is exemplary. A distinct new gothic, melancholy, powerful and poised.' China Miéville, author of The City & The City
'Armfield is an enormous, gut-wrenching talent.' Daisy Johnson, author of Everything Under
'Truly dazzling . . . so subtle, intelligent and imaginative.' Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman
In Armfield's unsettling, uncanny, and utterly delightful debut, wolves, mythological monsters, and seemingly ordinary girls and women abound. In "Formerly Feral," a girl's neighbor from across the street adopts a wolf and names her Helen. When the girl's parents divorce, her father remarries the neighbor and she gains a new stepsister in Helen, and the two develop a deep bond. In "Stop Your Women's Ears with Wax," Mona is on tour supporting a popular girl band making music that inspires violent desires in their young female fans. Black feathers in their dressing room hint at their more sinister true identity. In "Granite," a woman on the cusp of 30 finds a lover her first whose body is slowly turning to stone as she looks at him. The best story in the collection is the most conceptually ambitious: "The Great Asleep," in which a person's ability to sleep is anthropomorphized, becoming a separate shadow entity. Armfield occasionally deploys startling, stunning turns of phrase: "Two a.m., the dark throat of summer." Razor-sharp, stylish, and imaginative, Armfield's collection is a dazzling introduction to a talented writer.