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About the book
  • Published: 26 March 2015
  • ISBN: 9780241970690
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook

The World Before Us




Haunted - and partly narrated - by the dead and forgotten, The World Before Us is a breathtakingly imaginative novel about the traces we leave behind us, what slips off the margins of history - and the possibility that we are less alone than we might think.

The World Before Us is Aislinn Hunter's haunting novel of trauma, loss, history and memory - set in a Victorian asylum and a quirky London museum.


Jane was fifteen when her life changed for ever. In the woods surrounding a Yorkshire country house, she took her eyes off the little girl she was minding and the girl slipped into the trees - never to be seen again.

Now an adult, Jane is obsessed with another disappearance: that of a young woman who walked out of a Victorian lunatic asylum one day in 1877. As Jane pieces together moments in history, forgotten stories emerge - of sibling jealousy, illicit affairs, and tragic death . . .



'Ambitious, inticate . . . cleverly innovates while tipping a nod to classic Gothic tropes: dynastic rivalries, crumbling country houses, madhouses and vanished girls' National Post (Canada)


'A brilliant work of humanity and imagination, artful and breathtakingly beautiful. It will continue to haunt long after you have finished reading' Helen Humphreys, author of Nocturne


'Powerful, thought-provoking, haunting and haunted . . . Reminiscent of A.S. Byatt's Possession, it forces you to look at the world - the people around you, the objects they hold dear - in a different light' Globe and Mail (Canada)


Aislinn Hunter is the author of a novel, Stay; a collection of stories, What's Left Us; and two collections of poetry, Into the Early Hours and The Possible Past. The World Before Us is her first book of fiction in twelve years. After travelling to London and Edinburgh over the past few years to study for a PhD, Aislinn Hunter now lives and teaches in Vancouver, British Columbia.
%%%Jane was fifteen when her life changed for ever. In the woods surrounding a Yorkshire country house, she took her eyes off the little girl she was minding and the girl slipped into the trees - never to be seen again.



Now an adult, Jane is obsessed with another disappearance: that of a young woman who walked out of a Victorian lunatic asylum one day in 1877. As she pieces together moments in history, Jane uncovers a tangled story that has been buried for more than a century, and finally confronts her own past . . .
%%%Jane was fifteen when her life changed for ever. In the woods surrounding a Yorkshire country house, she took her eyes off the little girl she was minding and the girl slipped into the trees - never to be seen again.
Now an adult, Jane is obsessed with another disappearance: that of a young woman who walked out of a Victorian lunatic asylum one day in 1877. As she pieces together moments in history, Jane uncovers a tangled story that has been buried for more than a century, and finally confronts her own past . . .

  • Pub date: 26 March 2015
  • ISBN: 9780241970690
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook

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