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Whispers Through a Megaphone by Rachel Elliott

Whispers Through a Megaphone

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A gentle, yet astute, edgy and absolutely delightful debut novel. Miriam fears her own emotions, Ralph runs away from his family and while Sadie shouts about her life all over social media, internal whispers refuse to remain buried. A profound sting of awareness comes as you contemplate the meaning of normal after peeking at the inner most thoughts and feelings of the characters. The characters feel so very real, they may on occasion frustrate, evoke sympathy or a laugh, it’s easy to feel a connection to them, to care about them. Rachel Elliott has a lovely light touch, yet she subtly prods and provokes your perception and understanding. Whispers Through a Megaphone (such a beautifully perfect title) is a quirk-filled slice of wonderful and I highly recommend it. ~ Liz Robinson

Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2016.

A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher...

Debut novelist Rachel Elliott has created one of the most intriguing and loveable characters in contemporary British fiction in Miriam Delaney, a young woman who has been deeply damaged by her abusive dead mother. It would be understandable if a writer based a tormented, dark narrative around her very difficult life story. Instead, Elliott has written a whimsical, multi-layered tale that is as hilarious as it is moving and soulful.

Whispers Through a Megaphone is a self-contained literary microcosm of the world we live in today, a world where we create amusing virtual personae on social media that have little connection with who we really are. Delightfully afloat on quirky humour and playful prose, Rachel Elliott portrays the inner confusion resulting from too much digital noise when all we crave and need is a bit of silence to protect our personal space. ~ Elena Lappin, Editor, ONE


Whispers Through a Megaphone by Rachel Elliott

Sometimes the world can seem too much for just one person Miriam hasn't left her house in three years, and cannot raise her voice above a whisper. But today she has had enough, and is finally ready to rejoin the outside world. Meanwhile, Ralph has made the mistake of opening a closet door, only to discover with a shock that his wife Sadie doesn't love him, and never has. And so he decides to run away. Miriam and Ralph's chance meeting in a wood during stormy weather marks the beginning of an amusing, restorative friendship, while Sadie takes a break from Twitter to embark on an intriguing adventure of her own. As their collective story unfolds, each of them seeks to better understand the objects of their affection, and their own hearts, timidly refusing to stand still and accept the chaos life throws at them. Filled with wit and sparkling prose, Whispers Through a Megaphone explores our attempts to meaningfully connect with ourselves and others, in an often deafening world - when sometimes all we need is a bit of silence.


'Sharp, realistic...charming' Daily Mail

'In an over-connected world, a crisp, beguiling voice observes chaos - and conjures miracles. Elliott is an inspired observer - fresh, wry and true' -- Liz Jensen, author of The Ninth Life of Louis Drax

'An engaging and accomplished debut. Through the interlaced stories of a colourful cast, Elliott asks big questions, and often provides the answers, about our fleeting existence here on earth... This succinct way of summing up a life falling apart is Elliott's gift, supported by a deep understanding of what makes her characters tick... her knowledge of people shines in her fiction. For all its wit, it is the author's gimlet eye on human interaction that will engage readers.' Irish Times

'Whispers Through A Megaphone is not just a great first novel; it's wonderful... a winner' Bookbag

'Filled with wit and sparkling prose, Rachel Elliott's debut follows the quirky friendship between Ralph and Mirian as they try to make sense of their lives.' HELLO!

'Every now and then comes a literary voice that is truly original. It is a remarkable achievement - fresh, invigorating, intelligent, inspirational and perceptive... acutely observant and intensely human... Elliott's sparkling prose, warmth, wit and understanding of human frailty make this a journey of discovery full of unexpected joy, humour and hope. An extraordinary debut' Lancashire Evening Post

'[An] exciting debut' Big Issue in the North

'A beguiling debut. Perceptive, touching, and threaded through with humour. I loved it' Irish Examiner

'[Elliott's] insight and eye for character is profound and often surprising. This is a book to be read slowly, and to think about later: a wise, gentle book about human motivation and the hidden springs that move us through life.' Book Trust

'Brilliantly perceptive, wry and completely original' Bath Chronicle

About the Author

Rachel Elliott

Rachel Elliott is a writer and psychotherapist. She has worked in arts and technology journalism and her writing has featured in a variety of publications, from digital arts magazines to the French Literary Review. She has also been shortlisted for a number of short story and novel competitions in the UK and the US. Rachel was born in Suffolk, and now lives in Bath. Whispers Through a Megaphone is her first novel.

Author photo © Jacqueline Spanton

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Book Info

Publication date

4th August 2016


Rachel Elliott

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ONE an imprint of Pushkin Press


352 pages


Relationship Stories
All Shortlists and Winners
Family Drama
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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