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The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again

Winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2020
  • Author
    • M. John Harrison
Regular price £8.99
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  • Published: Apr 15 2021
  • Pages: 272
  • 196 x 130mm
  • ISBN: 9780575096363


*A New Statesman Book of the Year*

'A mesmerising, mysterious book . . . Haunting. Worrying. Beautiful' Russell T. Davis

'Brilliantly unsettling' Olivia Laing

'A magificent book' Neil Gaiman

'An extraordinary experience' William Gibson

Winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2020, this is fiction that pushes the boundaries of the novel form.

Shaw had a breakdown, but he's getting himself back together. He has a single room, a job on a decaying London barge, and an on-off affair with a doctor's daughter called Victoria, who claims to have seen her first corpse at age thirteen.

It's not ideal, but it's a life. Or it would be if Shaw hadn't got himself involved in a conspiracy theory that, on dark nights by the river, seems less and less theoretical...

Meanwhile, Victoria is up in the Midlands, renovating her dead mother's house, trying to make new friends. But what, exactly, happened to her mother? Why has the local waitress disappeared into a shallow pool in a field behind the house? And why is the town so obsessed with that old Victorian morality tale, The Water Babies?

As Shaw and Victoria struggle to maintain their relationship, the sunken lands are rising up again, unnoticed in the shadows around them.
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Press Reviews

  • The Guardian
    Unsettling and insinuating, fabulously alert to the spaces between things, Harrison is without peer as a chronicler of the fraught, unsteady state we're in.
  • The Herald
    One of the strangest and most unsettling novels of the year
  • Fantasy Hive
    Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and like much of Harrison's works, there are scenes of such sublime strangeness that they linger in the mind long after the novel is over. As such it is another triumph from one of our finest writers, and essential reading for 2020
  • Sci Fi Now
    Harrison is a linguistic artist, constructing sentences that wrap and weave like a stream of consciousness without ever breaking focus...every sentence is a decadent bite of a new sensation
  • Morning Star
    Uncanny and exquisite
  • Adam Roberts

    Sibilant Fricative
    The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again is a novel so good all the usual reviewerish superlatives barely seem superlative enough.
  • Daily Mail
    Like reading Thomas Pynchon underwater, this is a book of alienation, atmosphere, half glimpsed revelation - and some of the most beautiful writing you'll ever encounter.
  • The Times
    Harrison's unsettling and melancholy novel, gritted with farce and dreadful laughter, shouts award-winner on every page.
  • The Spectator
    Richly textured...slippery and seedy.
  • SFX
    A deeply unsettling fever dream of a novel. 4.5 out of 5.
  • Fantasy Book Review
    [There is] beauty and precision of [Harrison's] psychogeographic prose. 9.4/10.
  • Locus Magazine
    Masterful and deeply affecting.
  • Shiny New Books
    This excellent book may be the most unsettling piece of fiction you read this year...
  • Sci-Fi Paradise
    Harrison is a linguistic artist, constructing sentences that wrap and weave like a stream of consciousness without ever breaking focus.
  • Locus
    Unset­tling, brilliant, and pretty much unlike anything anyone else is doing.
  • Robert MacFarlane
    One of the best writers of fiction currently at work in English
  • Paul Cornell
    A stunning masterpiece
  • Jonathan Coe, author of international bestseller Middle England

    New Statesman Books of the year
    Treads the line between realism and fantasy with immense assurance and draws a portrait of watery, post-Brexit Britain that brings shivers of both unease and recognition
  • Rory Scothorne

    New Statesman Books of the year
    As ominous and bizarre as the title suggests. This funny, unsettling book is better left undescribed, but 'post-Brexit England haunted by green fish-people growing out of toilet bowls' should, uh, whet the appetite
  • J.S. Barnes, Times Literary Supplement
    Slippery and dreamlike, a profoundly and eerily disquieting experience . . . future critics will find in his writing a distinct, clear-eyed vision of late-twentieth and early-twenty-first-century life
  • Olivia Laing
    Brilliantly unsettling
  • Frances Wilson, New Statesman
    M. John Harrison's masterpiece
  • Michael Marshall Smith
    Absolutely astonishing
  • Neil Gaiman
    A magnificent book
  • William Gibson
    An extraordinary experience
  • Russell T. Davies
    A mesmerising, mysterious book . . . Haunting. Worrying. Beautiful