‘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.
"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. The voice jags at you, and the plot grips: this is a brilliant novel by a writer - and musician - of frankly alarming talent."
"Like the great storytelling tradition it extends so elegantly, Swansong is all about transformation, whether through love, rage, fear or desperation: a chilling tour de force that draws the old gods and demons from the land, and lets them loose in the most unexpected ways. It is also an utterly compelling psychological thriller, a book you will simply refuse to put down until the last piece of its extraordinary puzzle falls into place. Essential reading."
"I loved Swansong: a subtle, supernatural tale told in a present-day voice, unsettling right from the start. The writing is so vivid and charged with energy, it’s truly a remarkable novel."
"I miss my stop on the tube because I'm so engrossed."
"Memorably eerie ... When the tension is ramped up in the closing chapters, with false turns and twists galore, we root for [Polly] to the very end."
The nights are drawing in. Halloween movies are everywhere. But it’s not all about Hitchcock: there’s nothing quite as terrifying as a good ghost story. Make sure you’ve got a blanket to hide behind – here are monsters, ghosts, magical islands and talking cats.