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Night Waking by Sarah Moss

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Location and isolation are themes of both Sarah Mosses writing to date but rather than a post pandemic Greenland Night Waking is set in the desolate Scottish Island of Colsay. It very well written, sharp sad with a sometimes harsh feminist view of the clash between motherhood and work.

Judging Panel Fiction Uncovered 2011: ‘A must-read for any parent, this novel dramatises a family’s struggle to balance work and relationships in the isolated setting of a Scottish isle. Everyday tensions and an extraordinary event come together to produce a remarkably satisfying story.’

If you like Sarah Moss you might also like to read books by Tessa Hadley, Joanna Trollope and Mary Horlock.


Night Waking by Sarah Moss

Historian Anna Bennett has a book to write. She also has an insomniac toddler, a precocious, death-obsessed seven-year-old, and a frequently-absent ecologist husband who has brought them all to Colsay, a desolate island in the Hebrides, so he can count the puffins. Ferociously sleep-deprived, torn between mothering and her desire for the pleasures of work and solitude, Anna becomes haunted by the discovery of a baby's skeleton in the garden of their house. Her narrative is punctuated by letters home, written 200 years before, by May, a young, middle-class midwife desperately trying to introduce modern medicine to the suspicious, insular islanders. The lives of these two characters intersect unexpectedly in this deeply moving but also at times blackly funny story about maternal ambivalence, the way we try to control children, and about women's vexed and passionate relationship with work. Moss's second novel displays an exciting expansion of her range - showing her to be both an excellent comic writer, and a novelist of great emotional depth.

About the Author

Sarah Moss

Sarah Moss was educated at Oxford University and is a senior Lecturer in Literature and Place at the Cornwall Campus of Exeter University. She spent 2009-10 as a visiting lecturer at the University of Reykavik. She co-edits, with Nicola Humble, the Food series at Manchester University Press. Night Waking is her second novel.

Author photo © Simon Burt

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd February 2011


Sarah Moss

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Literary Fiction
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