Shortlisted for The Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award 2012
In the house where Marie lives, the cutlery is running wild …
Madness and fairy story creep hand in hand in this darkly comic tale. At the top of a narrow driveway there is a shambling Victorian house full of dust and stairs. The walls inside are ancient emulsion, sloughing off the distemper walls in gorgeous ribbons.
The mice that infest the dining room chimney-breast are living out their own dreams and nightmares, learning voodoo and the meaning of love and forgiveness. In The Knife Drawer, dead bodies miraculously vanish as if scraped to nothing by pudding spoons.
Marie’s mother has rather lost her wits since she did away with her husband. She could swear they’re out to get her; even the house gets messy on purpose, all by itself. Marie’s twin is living in a hole in the back-garden, small and round as a cherry pip, waiting to be discovered.
In The Knife Drawer the steak knives grow so hungry that they scream. When the children murder the rent man, things get a little out of hand …
‘Padrika Tarrant’s imagination is not a comfortable place to be, but it is darkly addictive.’ —Sarah Bower
‘Her language is both precise and arrestingly strange.’ —Nicholas Clee
‘Tarrant’s stories are images trapped and corralled, temporarily, and put on brief display before they slip off of the page and back into the wilds from which they came.’ —Laura Benedict
‘Man Booker juries like small publishers and début novelists, so how about this as the wild card? Tarrant is the author of a collection of (very short) short stories, Broken Things, which demonstrated her sensitivity, originality and keen sense of the darkness of life. All elements to the fore in this creepy, gothic first novel about a house and its mice.’ —Suzi Feay