I have nothing but admiration and awe for Sarah Perry. There are so many highlights I could spoil the entire book but instead I’ll share the most poignant part.
One of the characters is depicted sharpening a pencil with a razor and an almost tangible memory of my Grandad burst from the page. I remember he always had a pencil sharpened this way. It also made me remember the old, battered suitcase, full of felt pens and pencils that were kept for all the grandkids to use. I don’t know what happened to that. Thanks for the memory, Sarah. It makes the book so much more for me.
The short list has just been released and the most pleasing paragraph, I’ve copied below;
The fourth contender and only new face on the best novel list is Sarah Perry, for The Essex Serpent. Adored by critics and readers alike and a surprise omission from the Booker longlist, Perry’s novel follows an adventurous widow who investigates whether the folktale serpent has come to life and is haunting the Blackwater estuary. Perry, who is currently working on her third book, said she’d celebrate with a sherry. “To have a panel of judges consider it one of the four best novels of the year is so extraordinary,” she said. “I think it will give me greater courage and confidence to carry on writing. I wish I had rigid self-belief regardless of outside influence, but when someone enjoys my book, I go: ‘Oh, I’ll do another one then!’” (The Guardian)
And my reaction at learning of Sarah’s nomination?