Kerry Andrew

Swansong
  • Swansong

  • ‘Swansong is the real thing, right from the start: spiky, strange and contemporary, but always with a dark undertow of myth and folklore tugging at its telling…this is a brilliant novel by a writer - and musician - of frankly alarming talent.’ Robert Macfarlane

    In this stunningly assured, immersive and vividly atmospheric first novel from the celebrated musician, a young woman comes face-to-face with the volatile, haunted wilderness of the Scottish Highlands.

    Polly Vaughan is trying to escape the ravaging guilt of a disturbing incident in London by heading north to the Scottish Highlands. As soon as she arrives, this spirited, funny, alert young woman goes looking for drink, drugs and sex – finding them all quickly, and unsatisfactorily, with the barman in the only pub. She also finds a fresh kind of fear, alone in this eerie, myth-drenched landscape. Increasingly prone to visions or visitations – floating white shapes in the waters of the loch or in the woods – she is terrified and fascinated by a man she came across in the forest on her first evening, apparently tearing apart a bird. Who is this strange loner? And what is his sinister secret?

    Kerry Andrew is a fresh new voice in British fiction; one that comes from a deep understanding of the folk songs, mythologies and oral traditions of these islands. Her powerful metaphoric language gives Swansong a charged, hallucinatory quality that is unique, uncanny and deeply disquieting.

Kerry Andrew is a London-based composer, performer, and author. She has won four British Composer Awards and is best known for her experimental vocal, choral and music-theatre work, often based around themes of community, landscape and myth. She has released two albums with her band You Are Wolf: Hawk to the Hunting Gone (2014), a collection of avian folk-songs re-interpreted, and Keld (2018), inspired by freshwater folklore. She made her short story debut on BBC Radio 4 in 2014 and she was shortlisted for the 2018 BBC National Short Story Award. She is currently working on her second novel.