Bookseller Information

ISBN
9781907773723
Extent
320pp
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
30-Mar-14
Publication Status
Active
Subject
Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Trim Size
198 x 129mm

Little Egypt

Synopsis

Winner 2014 Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize

Longlisted: International Dublin Literary Award 2016

Sunday Herald Book of the Year 2014

Elderly, Egypt-mad twins Isis and Osiris find their neglected English lives disturbed to catastrophic effect by the arrival of American Anarchist, Spike

New from Lesley Glaister, winner of the Somerset Maugham, Betty Trask and Yorkshire Post Author of the Year prizes

‘This tale of imprisonment and neglect explores our passion for nostalgia, with hints of Dodie Smith’s darker side. An excellent read that pulls at the heart as well as the head.’ —Victoria Clark, The Lady

‘Eerily atmospheric Little Egypt, made me shudder; certain passages were read through half-closed eyes, the way you watch grisly scenes in a film — desperate to know what happens, but not wanting to disturbing images imprinted on your mind.’ —Rosemary Goring, The Herald

Little Egypt was once a well-to-do country house in the north of England. Now it’s derelict and trapped on a small island of land between a railway, a dual carriageway and a superstore, and although it looks deserted it isn’t. Nonagenarian twins, Isis and Osiris, still live in the home they were born in, and from which in the 1920s their obsessive Egyptologist parents left them to search for the fabled tomb of Herihor – a search from which they never returned. Isis and Osiris have stayed in the house, guarding a terrible secret, for all their long lives until chance meeting between Isis and young American anarchist Spike, sparks an unlikely friendship and proves a catalyst for change.

‘I was gripped by the story from start to finish, finding it a perturbing, poignant and, in places, a darkly humorous read.’ —Amazon.co.uk

This enormously accomplished novel took twenty years to come to fruition: it is well worth the wait — buy your copy now.

Reviews of this Book

‘Eerily atmospheric Little Egypt, made me shudder; certain passages were read through half-closed eyes, the way you watch grisly scenes in a film — desperate to know what happens, but not wanting to disturbing images imprinted on your mind.’ —Rosemary Goring, The Herald

‘Glaister’s greatest success in Little Egypt is in her pacing and her use of language to obscure change; through effortless and consistently engaging prose, Isis’s transformation, the degradation of the house, the growing panic over her parents’ prolonged absence, and the book’s more sinister themes, all emerge discreetly.’ —Clare Hazelton, TLS

‘Glaister is very good at creating an atmosphere of rank gloom, and her alternating structure gives her rich opportunities for dramatic tension, which she exploits brilliantly. She slowly ramps up the grotesqueries with just the right amount of dark and light: a gleam of macabre humour leavens the misery, while there is always empathy for Isis, doomed to suffer a horrible life to protect her disturbed and disturbing twin.’ —Jane Housham, The Guardian

‘Switching between the twins' 1920s childhood and their present day decay until the horror of their existence becomes all too clear, Little Egypt perfectly demonstrates why Glaister is the suspense writers' suspense writer. With Little Egypt, she is back on Honour Thy Father form. I still have that slow, sick, ache in the pit of my stomach to prove it.’ —Sam Baker, Harper’s Bazaar

‘★★★★★ A quirky, quintessentially British story about two unfortunate offspring of batty amateur Egyptologist parents and the senior citizens those children become. This deftly written, heady mixture of poignancy and eccentricity is just the thing if you fancy a change from literacy humdrum.’ —Ani Johnson, The Bookbag

Little Egypt is a highly original and atmospheric novel.’ —A Little Blog of Books

‘Beautifully written and with fully rounded characters there is much humour alongside the poignancy of the unfolding tale. I loved the idea that this old lady, born to privilege, should derive pleasure from all she is able to see of modern life, this superstore, and dream of selling up and moving on. With so much emphasis these days on preservation it is refreshing to consider change as good. The old days and ways recounted here offer little to remember of past times which should ever be considered fondly.’ —Neverimitate

‘Lesley Glaister’s writing is delightful; she has some superb turns of phrases and despite the subject matter this is not a book without humour. The characters are beautifully drawn (though the strange Osi remains in the background as something of a mystery), and the ‘crime’ committed is certainly not one I’ve come across before. Highly recommended.’ —Book Muse

Praise for Previous Work

‘Pick almost any paragraph on any page in any of Lesley Glaister's great fat pile of nine novels and you'll spot a combination of words snazzy enough to make your heart sing.’ —Julie Myerson, The Guardian

‘On Nina Todd Has Gone: The end is satisfactorily ragged – visceral, dark, intense – but not inconclusive about its central concern: the dubious pleasure of self-reinvention. It's a book that lingers, since Glaister's particular talent leaves us as intrigued by her floundering fictional people as we sometimes are by those in what Nina Todd wistfully thinks of as "real life".’ —Sheena Joughin, The Independent

‘Crime writing of the highest order, creepy ... with satisfying fits of the shivers.’ —Sunday Times

‘Glaister, along with Ruth Rendell, has almost cornered the market in writing horror stories set in the suburbs.’ —The Times

‘Glaister's rounded gift is to show life as it really is.’ —Independent on Sunday

‘Superb. Glaister's ratcheting unease and suspense are flawlessly paced.’ —Glasgow Herald

‘Glaister's fresh and vivid voice shouts above the insipid ranks of so much contemporary fiction.’ —The Times

‘Glaister has the the uncomfortable knack of putting her finger on things we most fear, of exposing the darkness within.’ —Independent on Sunday

‘Glaister's novels always appear to be as effortless for her to write as they for us to read.’ —The Times

‘This tale of imprisonment and neglect explores our passion for nostalgia, with hints of Dodie Smith’s darker side. An excellent read that pulls at the heart as well as the head.’ —Victoria Clark, The Lady





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