A Bookseller Best Debut of 2015 One to Watch 2015 Huffington Post An Amazon Rising Star 'The Chimes is a remarkable debut. It's inventive, beautifully written, and completely absorbing. I highly recommend it.' Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds A mind-expanding literary debut composed of memory, music and imagination. A boy stands on the roadside on his way to London, alone in the rain. No memories, beyond what he can hold in his hands at any given moment. No directions, as written words have long since been forbidden. No parents - just a melody that tugs at him, a thread to follow. A song that says if he can just get to the capital, he may find some answers about what happened to them. The world around Simon sings, each movement a pulse of rhythm, each object weaving its own melody, music ringing in every drop of air. Welcome to the world of The Chimes. Here, life is orchestrated by a vast musical instrument that renders people unable to form new memories. The past is a mystery, each new day feels the same as the last, and before is blasphony. But slowly, inexplicably, Simon is beginning to remember. He emerges from sleep each morning with a pricking feeling, and sense there is something he urgently has to do. In the city Simon meets Lucien, who has a gift for hearing, some secrets of his own, and a theory about the danger lurking in Simon's past. A stunning debut composed of memory, music, love and freedom, The Chimes pulls you into a world that will captivate, enthral and inspire.
2016 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel
Cleverly orchestrated and poignantly conveyed throughout. Guardian Smaill is a former musician with a book of poetry already to her name. The Chimes has strong echoes of both these influences as we're taken on a strange and lyrical journey through a dystopian England ... The intrinsic links between music and memory suffuse this dreamy narrative ... the idiosyncratic world [that] Smaill has lovingly created using melodic and musical syntax - her narrative style brimming with invention and nuance. The Big Issue The pleasure lies in getting to grips with the rules of this eerie dystopia and the unusual vocabulary Smaill has minted to describe it. Metro Atmospheric, intensely-imagined strangeness Daily Mail SUPERB... intriguing, ambitious and strikingly written. James Kidd, Independent on Sunday Strangely compelling Sainsbury's Magazine To call The Chimes striking is I dare say to underplay what might be the most distinctive debut of the decade. Tor.com A dazzling debut piece of fantasy that marries great writing with compelling narrative. And the world Smaill has invented, where memory has been replaced by music and people cling to objects that link them to their pasts, is brilliantly imagined... a serious book with serious talent behind it. New Zealand Herald Atmospheric, intensely-imagined strangeness Daily Mail The Chimes is a remarkable debut. It's inventive, beautifully written, and completely absorbing. I highly recommend it. Kevin Powers, author of THE YELLOW BIRDS Magical, tender, thought provoking and stunningly imaginative. Lindsay Hawdon, author of JAKOB'S COLOURS The novel is hypnotic, melancholic and requires concentration, but it builds to an incredibly tense and emotionally satisfying climax that rewards all the effort. Elle A genuinely originalnovel that has all the tension of a well-told, gripping thriller, but which is elevated well above the ordinary by its shining, lyrical language. The author has created a believable, consistent and vivid world... Clare Morrall Dystopian fiction but not quite as we know it... Smaill's particular melodious inventiveness makes her story her own. Independent Anna Smail's ambition fiction debut is a strange, compelling tale; full of musical metaphors and striking imagery, it is wildly imaginative and challenging. Choice Magazine An exciting debut, a book full of rhythm, energy and melody... There's no doubt Smaill has created a distinctive and impressive debut, one that dares to create its own music. The List An enthralling read. The Lady lyrical debut Sunday Express This is a story that rivets us from the beginning but, for those wanting more, there are delicious depths that change an excellent story into an equally excellent thought provoking fable. As if that isn't enough, it also convinces us that Anna is a very clever lady. ... hugely compelling ... Oh yes, this is definitely a 'Wow!' book. The Bookbag For a story about music, The Chimes is a triumph on the printed page. SFX Magazine
Anna Smaill was born in Auckland in 1979. A classically trained violinist, she holds an MA in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters (Wellington), an MA in English Literature from the University of Auckland and a PhD in contemporary American poetry from University College London. She is the author of one book of poetry (The Violinist in Spring, VUP 2005) and her poems have been published and anthologised in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. She has lived and worked in both Tokyo and London, and now lives in New Zealand with her husband, novelist Carl Shuker, and their daughter.