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  • Published: 15 February 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784704926
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $19.99

Swansong



A truly original debut novel from the celebrated musician.

'Swansong is the real thing, right from the start: spiky, strange and contemporary, but always with a dark undertow of myth and folklore tugging at its telling.this is a brilliant novel by a writer - and musician - of frankly alarming talent.' Robert MacfarlaneIn this stunningly assured, immersive and vividly atmospheric first novel from the celebrated musician, a young woman comes face-to-face with the volatile, haunted wilderness of the Scottish Highlands. Polly Vaughan is trying to escape the ravaging guilt of a disturbing incident in London by heading north to the Scottish Highlands. As soon as she arrives, this spirited, funny, alert young woman goes looking for drink, drugs and sex - finding them all quickly, and unsatisfactorily, with the barman in the only pub. She also finds a fresh kind of fear, alone in this eerie, myth-drenched landscape. Increasingly prone to visions or visitations - floating white shapes in the waters of the loch or in the woods - she is terrified and fascinated by a man she came across in the forest on her first evening, apparently tearing apart a bird. Who is this strange loner? And what is his sinister secret?Kerry Andrew is a fresh new voice in British fiction; one that comes from a deep understanding of the folk songs, mythologies and oral traditions of these islands. Her powerful metaphoric language gives Swansong a charged, hallucinatory quality that is unique, uncanny and deeply disquieting.

  • Published: 15 February 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784704926
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Kerry Andrew

Kerry Andrew is a London-based composer, performer, and author. She has won four British Composer Awards and is best known for her experimental vocal, choral and music-theatre work, often based around themes of community, landscape and myth. She has released two albums with her band You Are Wolf: Hawk to the Hunting Gone (2014), a collection of avian folk-songs re-interpreted, and Keld (2018), inspired by freshwater folklore. She made her short story debut on BBC Radio 4 in 2014 and she was shortlisted for the 2018 BBC National Short Story Award. She is currently working on her second novel.

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Praise for Swansong

Swansong is the real thing, right from the start: spiky, strange and contemporary, but always with a dark undertow of myth and folklore tugging at its telling. The voice jags at you, and the plot grips: this is a brilliant novel by a writer - and musician - of frankly alarming talent.

Robert Macfarlane

Like the great storytelling tradition it extends so elegantly, Swansong is all about transformation, whether through love, rage, fear or desperation: a chilling tour de force that draws the old gods and demons from the land, and lets them loose in the most unexpected ways. It is also an utterly compelling psychological thriller, a book you will simply refuse to put down until the last piece of its extraordinary puzzle falls into place. Essential reading.

John Burnside

I loved Swansong: a subtle, supernatural tale told in a present-day voice, unsettling right from the start. The writing is so vivid and charged with energy, it’s truly a remarkable novel.

Shirley Collins

I miss my stop on the tube because I'm so engrossed.

Sophie Gallagher, Huffington Post

Memorably eerie ... When the tension is ramped up in the closing chapters, with false turns and twists galore, we root for [Polly] to the very end.

Ann-Maria McCarthy, Times Literary Supplement

Studded with pauses for melodic appreciation … [Kerry Andrew’s] sentences and passages are as finely crafted and nuanced as her songs.

Sara Baume, Guardian

A confident and atmospheric debut … Rooted in Celtic mythology and written with exquisite precision, the novel possesses a lyrical, dreamlike quality.

Fanny Blake, Daily Mail

A darkly captivating tale of myth, magic and sinister secrets.

Eithne Farry, Mail on Sunday

A compelling supernatural fable that casts a genuine goosebumps-on-arms spell. It also bears comparison with the best of recent British nature writing … Rarely do protagonists seize you by the scruff of the neck, but Polly Vaughan’s distinctive tone and vision do just that.

Stephanie Cross, The Lady

Elegant, eerie and strange, this is a brilliantly chilling debut.

Psychologies

A haunting, mesmeric read.

Bookseller

A very striking debut novel … A swift, lithe and engaging read.

Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday

Atmospheric and disquieting.

Sebastian Shakespeare, Tatler

Assured, immersive and atmospheric.

Louise Rhind-Tutt, iNews

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