Carmen Marcus

How Saints Die
  • How Saints Die

  • 'What a glorious, beautiful sea-shanty of a book this is. A fairy tale of wild, sea-swept children and wolfish fear. Written in a compelling, rushing language.' Daisy Johnson, author of the Man Booker-longlisted Everything Under

    Ellie Fleck has a question for everything, except the one she cannot ask.
    Where have they taken her mother?

    Ten years old and irrepressibly curious, Ellie lives with her fisherman father, Peter, on the wild North Yorkshire coast. It’s the 1980s and her mother’s breakdown is discussed only in whispers, with the promise ‘better by Christmas’ and no further explanation.

    Steering by the light of her dad’s sea-myths, her mum’s memories of home across the water, and a fierce spirit all her own, Ellie begins to learn – in these sudden, strange circumstances – who she is and what she can become. By the time the first snowdrops show, her innocence has been shed, but at great cost.

Carmen Marcus lives in the Victorian spa town of Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Her writing has been described as ‘crackling dangerously with inherited magic yet achieving contemporary vitality’. She is in much demand as a performance poet and has appeared at the Royal Festival Hall. Recently she has been commissioned by BBC Radio 3’s Verb New Voices. How Saints Die is her first novel, and as a work in progress it won New Writing North's 'Northern Promise' Award.