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What to expect

The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller
‘Superb’ The Times
‘Sharp, searching . . . utterly of the moment’ Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall
‘So accomplished’ Guardian
‘A masterpiece’ Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist
‘One of her best’ Irish Times
‘Beautifully written, intense, powerful’ David Nicholls, author of Sweet Sorrow

From the acclaimed author of Ghost Wall, Summerwater is a devastating story told over twenty-four hours in the Scottish highlands, and a searing exploration of our capacity for both kinship and cruelty in these divided times.

On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents.

A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally falls.

Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction 2021.

‘Nothing escapes her sly humour and brilliant touch. Deft and brimming with life, Summerwater is a novel of endless depth. A masterpiece.’ Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist

‘Summerwater may be her best so far.’ The Times

‘This latest display of Moss’s imaginative versatility shine[s] with intelligence’ Sunday Times

Critics Review

  • Sharp, searching, thoroughly imagined, it is utterly of the moment, placing its anxious human dots against a vast indifferent landscape; with its wit and verve and beautiful organisation it throws much contemporary writing into the shade!

    Hilary Mantel, Man Booker winning author of Wolf Hall
  • Nothing escapes her sly humour and brilliant touch. Deft and brimming with life, Summerwater is a novel of endless depth. A masterpiece.

    Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist
  • Moss’s ability to conjure up the fleeting and sometimes agonised tenderness of family life is unmatched . . . A great part of a novelist’s skill lies in the breadth of their sympathies and their ability to enter into the lives of people unlike themselves. Moss does this so naturally and comprehensively . . . there is an artfulness to her writing so accomplished as to conceal itself.

    Melissa Harrison, Guardian
  • Summerwater is a triumph and confirms Sarah Moss as one of the best writers at work in Britain today.

    Fiona Mozley, author of Elmet
  • Moss is a writer who can say more than most others in half the space. Her latest, a haunting story of alienation set on a Scottish campsite, is the summer’s most interesting read

    Independent
  • Summerwater is a beautiful book, written with delicacy and grace, yet with an undertow as dark as the Scottish loch by which its characters are holidaying in ignorance of the tragedy to come. If you are a huge fan of Moss’s work, as I am, you will find yourself parceling it out, to read a chapter a day, like a gift.

    Louise Doughty, author of Apple Tree Yard

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