Her Body or the Sea

Ian Patterson

  • The Unmapped Country: Stories and Fragments by Ann Quin
    And Other Stories, 192 pp, £10.00, January, ISBN 978 1 911508 14 4

There is something generational about the recent revival of interest in the novelist Ann Quin. After scarcely even maintaining a cult reputation among writers in the years since her death, she’s reappeared like a revenant who’d been lurking in dark corners, and now everybody’s writing about her. Since the rediscovery of B.S. Johnson (if that’s what it was) that followed Jonathan Coe’s biography a few years ago there’s been a wave of enthusiasm for ‘experimental fiction’. A new crop of writers such as Claire-Louise Bennett, Kevin Davey, Will Eaves, Eimear McBride and Eley Williams, all published by independent presses, started to attract attention, and there was a flurry of excitement about writing that departed in some way from the conventions of realism which still dominate the English novel. Heralded by commendatory quotes from Tom McCarthy and Lee Rourke on the cover of this new gathering of previously uncollected or unpublished writings, Ann Quin now seems to be emerging as their best ancestor.

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[*] Silver Press, 215 pp., £10.99, June, 978 0 99571 621 6.