Jean Sprackland

These Silent Mansions
  • These Silent Mansions

  • Graveyards are oases: places of escape, of peace and reflection. Each is a garden or nature reserve, but also a site of commemoration, where the past is close enough to touch: a liminal place, at the border of the living world.

    Jean Sprackland’s prize-winning book, Strands, brought to life the histories of objects found on a beach. These Silent Mansions is also an uncovering of individual stories: vivid, touching and intimately told. Sprackland travels back through her own life, revisiting graveyards in the ordinary towns and cities she has called home, seeking out others who lived, died and are remembered or forgotten there. With her poet’s eye, she makes chance discoveries among the stones and inscriptions: a notorious smuggler tucked up in a sleepy churchyard; ancient coins unearthed on a secret burial ground; a slow-worm basking in the sun.

    These Silent Mansions is an elegant, exhilarating meditation on the relationship between the living and the dead, the nature of time and loss, and how – in this restless, accelerated world – we can connect the here with the elsewhere, the present with the past.

RELEASED 06/02/2020

Jean Sprackland’s first book of non-fiction, Strands: A Year of Discoveries on the Beach, won the 2012 Portico Prize. She is the author of five poetry collections, including Tilt, which won the 2007 Costa Poetry Award and, most recently, Green Noise (2018). She lives in London.