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Diving Belles by Lucy Wood

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This luminous, startling and utterly spellbinding debut collection introduces in Lucy Wood a spectacular new voice in contemporary British fiction.


Diving Belles by Lucy Wood

Along Cornwall's ancient coast, the flotsam and jetsam of the past becomes caught in the cross-currents of the present and, from time to time, a certain kind of magic can float to the surface...Straying husbands lured into the sea can be fetched back, for a fee. Magpies whisper to lonely drivers late at night. Trees can make wishes come true - provided you know how to wish properly first. Houses creak, fill with water and keep a fretful watch on their inhabitants, straightening shower curtains and worrying about frayed carpets. A teenager's growing pains are sometimes even bigger than him. And, on a windy beach, a small boy and his grandmother keep despair at bay with an old white door. In these stories, Cornish folklore slips into everyday life. Hopes, regrets and memories are entangled with catfish, wrecker's lamps, standing stones and baying hounds, and relationships wax and wane in the glow of a moonlit sea.


'These stories are brilliantly uncanny: not because of the ghosts and giants and talking birds which haunt their margins, but because of what those unsettling presences mean for the very human characters at their centre ... A startling, and startlingly good, debut' Jon McGregor

'Lucy Wood has an intensity and clarity of expression, deeply rooted in a sense of place. Her stories have a purity and strength, and an underlying human warmth; they resonate in the mind'
Philip Hensher

'Each year, book blurbs tell you that a thousand new writers have fresh, distinctive voices. But fresh, distinctive voices are actually very rare. Lucy Wood has one'
Michel Faber

'These are stories from the places where magic and reality meet. It is as if the Cornish moors and coasts have whispered secrets into Lucy Wood's ears and, in response, she has fashioned exquisite tales of mystery and humanity. In her prose, the fabulous moves across the everyday like the surf moving over the shore, shifting it in subtle measures, leaving it altered in its wake' Ali Shaw, author of The Girl with Glass Feet

'Cornish folklore for the modern day done in a beautiful, spooky way' Harper's Bazaar

'A vibrant new voice Tatler Utterly different in every way from Keret, in their Angela Carter-ish Englishness, but equally compelling' -- Erica Wagner The Times

About the Author

Lucy Wood has a Master's degree in Creative Writing from Exeter University. She grew up in Cornwall. Diving Belles is her first work.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Lucy Wood

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