A captivating, magical and haunting debut novel of breathtaking imagination, from the winner of the 2014 Costa Short Story Award The remote island village of Neverness is a world far from our time and place. The air hangs rich with the coconut-scent of gorse and the salty bite of the sea. Harsh winds scour the rocky coastline. The villagers' lives are inseparable from nature and its enchantments. Verlyn Webbe, born with a wing for an arm, unfurls his feathers in defiance of past shame; Plum is snatched by a water bull and dragged to his lair; little Crab Skerry takes his first run through the gorse-maze; Madden sleepwalks through violent storms, haunted by horses and her father's wishes. As the tales of this island community interweave over the course of a generation, their earthy desires, resentments, idle gossip and painful losses create a staggeringly original world. Crackling with echoes of ancient folklore, but entirely, wonderfully, her own, Zoe Gilbert's Folk is a dark, beautiful and intoxicating debut.
A captivating, magical and haunting debut novel of breathtaking imagination, from the winner of the 2014 Costa Short Story Award
I was thoroughly absorbed. Zoe Gilbert's invented folk-world is sensuous and dangerous and thick with magic * Tessa Hadley, author of The Past * Folk is absolutely stunning. I loved it. With gorgeous, incantatory prose, it submerges you in a mysterious and utterly compelling world. Its illumination lingers long after you close the book * Madeline Miller, Orange Prize-winning author of The Song of Achilles * Wild, domestic, powered by elements both natural and weird, Folk hauls us into a past where there's room for magic and for mystery. Give in and go there * Margo Lanagan, author of Tender Morsels * An utterly tantalising new voice. With Folk, Gilbert casts a powerful spell, creating a world on the page that feels as old as the hills and yet exquisitely alive ... To read Folk is to find oneself rapt * Alison MacLeod, author of All the Beloved Ghosts * As delightful and as dark as the collected Brothers Grimm. The village of Neverness is misted with secrets and sticky with magic. But as mystical as their circumstances might be the villagers are neither Cinderellas nor wicked-witches ... These tender portraits are, perhaps, Zoe Gilbert's greatest act of conjuring * Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You * Brilliant. It's visceral and savage, but the savagery always comes with a light touch ... The stories all have a beautiful fairytale quality that makes them look like they were spun out of one of Neverness's half-magic mists. It's a gorgeous, uneasy siren of a book * Natasha Pulley, bestselling author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street * A haunting portrait of a community steeped in folklore. Gilbert is a fine storyteller, and this is skilful, potent writing * K J Orr, author of Light Box *
Zoe Gilbert is the winner of the Costa Short Story Award 2014. Her work has appeared in anthologies from Comma, Cinnamon, Labello, and Pankhearst presses, and has been published in journals including The Stinging Fly, Mechanics' Institute Review, Bohemyth, Holdfast, Lighthouse, and the British Fantasy Society Journal. In 2015 she appeared at the Beijing Bookworm Festival in China on behalf of the British Council and was commissioned by Microsoft to create a short story book. She is working on a PhD in Fiction and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, focusing on the influence of folk tales on contemporary short stories. She chairs the Short Story Critique Group at Waterstones Piccadilly and co-hosts the Short Story Club at the Word Factory. She is also the co-founder of London Lit Lab, providing creative writing courses for Londoners. She lives in Sydenham, London. @mindandlanguage