Larchfield

Here’s a book I read last year. It was was in my end of year wrap-up and was super bomb. And since it was so bomb, it gets its own separate review so that you can read it and think it’s bomb too. What a wonderful thing for all of us!

Larchfield is the gothic, claustraphobic, melencholic (and every other “ic” word) piece of fiction you’ve been searching for. It straddles two eras: one foot in the 1930’s as Wystan, a young poet turned teacher, struggles to reconcile who he is with the prejudices of the society he lives in. The other foot firmly planted in the present, as Dora, a once rising star of literature, finds herself stranded in a small town that doesn’t want her. Firmly planted that is, until these two worlds begin to merge.

This is a story in the vein of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, where the domestic becomes an inescapable cage, both of body and spirit. Although dealing with two very different realities, both protagonists feel trapped within their “abnormalities”, “abnormalities” which society deems taboo and leaves them both as outcasts.

Although Wystan’s sexuality could lose him his job and–with Nazi Germany on the rise–his life, it’s Dora’s struggle with postnatal depression and anxiety that got me right in the feels. Damn son, I can’t think of anything more terrifying. And there are so many terrifying things to be terrified of!

Like so many of the books I’ve given raving reviews of, this is another one that’s all about atmosphere and creeping dread. Physical ailments blur with mental anguish and you’ll begin to lose your mind right along with everyone else. Also, this thing is beautifully written, have I mentioned that? It’s a story about two poets, written by a poet. What more could you need??

Larchfield will be published in the UK in March and if it sounds like your kind of read then grab it!

Or just ask me for my copy…

Five out of five stars

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