ContemporaryBurncoat By Sarah Hall

Burncoat By Sarah Hall


Sarah Hall is one of those writers that authors can’t stop talking about. Racking up awards and prizes, her newest title was just published by @faberbooks in October who very kindly sent us a copy. This is my first experience of her work.

I cannot adequately express how haunting this book is. It is intensely intimate, powerful and philosophical, leaving me reeling after I read it in one sitting. I found it immensely hard to read in parts, particularly given the events we are living through which have clearly inspired the plot.

Edith is a celebrated sculptor who lives in her vast studio Burntcoat which is “a crucible glowing with memories”. The world is in the grip of a global pandemic and our narrator is deteriorating and reflecting on her life, the child of a mother disabled in a crash, and the lockdown relationship she has had whilst society collapses. 

This is the most forceful, visceral, delicate book that explores love, death, passion, grief, art, being a carer for a partner, the futility and vitality of life, health, politics, identity and a myriad of other themes – all in just over 200 pages of lyrical prose that reads at times like poetry. 

There is a deep unease, a recognisable foreboding as the situation becomes more dystopian. Hall doesn’t clarify fully what has happened but alludes to a virus which allows the reader to engage more personally. 

One review in the press encapsulates this book perfectly “The hope in this sparse, sumptuous, brilliant book is that the work of finding meaning and truth can be continued even in extremity, even as art and love slip away.” 

I am in awe of the writing. Thank you so much to @faberbooks ~ Chaya {Ad:PR Copy}

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