BOOK REVIEW: JULIA ARMFIELD – SALT SLOW

Today, it’s a review of a wonderful short story collection that I loved deeply – and still thinking about it. It’s the brilliant Salt Slow by Julia Armfield.

I’ve read this last month but I just didn’t know how to put it into words how brilliant this collection is. Seriously, it’s brilliant. From the haunting and inviting cover, to the sharp, wonderful, insightful writing inside. It’s just so brilliant. Here’s the blurb:

In her brilliantly inventive and haunting debut collection of stories, Julia Armfield explores bodies and the bodily, mapping the skin and bones of her characters through their experiences of isolation, obsession, love and revenge.

Teenagers develop ungodly appetites, a city becomes insomniac overnight, and bodies are diligently picked apart to make up better ones. The mundane worlds of schools and sleepy sea-side towns are invaded and transformed, creating a landscape which is constantly shifting to hold on to its inhabitants. Blurring the mythic and the gothic with the everyday, Salt Slow considers characters in motion – turning away, turning back or simply turning into something new entirely.

Winner of The White Review Short Story Prize 2018, Armfield is a writer of sharp, lyrical prose and tilting dark humour – Salt Slow marks the arrival of an ambitious and singular new voice.

This year, I have been enjoying, reading and loving short story collections and it’s something that I want to carry on in my reading. I’ve been looking forward to reading Salt Slow for quite a long time – the cover is just gorgeous, isn’t it? It drew my eye immediately and I pre-ordered a copy straight away. Straight from the first word on the first page, I was hooked and I knew I was going to love this collection, which I did – instantly.

Julia Armfield’s writing is just so brilliant. It’s clever, complex, layered, funny, emotional but most of all, it’s imaginative. This really does feel like a new and unique voice in fiction. Every story is different from the next but they all feel connected at the same time, just like any short story collection should, in my opinion. Her writing is sharp, full of dark humour but also lyrical with sentences, paragraphs that will make you fall in love with her writing.

My favourite story in this collection is The Great Awake, which is what she won with The White Review Short Story Prize in 2018. I just loved this story – I thought it was completely unique and a wonderful concept packs a punch in such a short space. I would have loved to read an entire novel just from this story. I also really enjoyed The Collectables, Granite, Stop your women’s ears with wax too but that being said, I enjoyed all of the stories as they all gave something new and different but similar at the same time.

I can’t express how much I loved this short story collection. It is gothic, macabre, mythic and the everyday, it’s sharp, lyrical, poetic, witty, whimsical and so much more. It’s a perfect collection to dip in and out of – but don’t stay too comfortable before it bites you back… but seriously, this is a stunning, wonderful collection of short stories and I can’t wait to read them all over again. If you’re looking for a new short story collection, this is brilliant. I can’t wait to see what Julia Armfield writes next…

Have you read Salt Slow? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! Also, what are your favourite short story collections? I’m always on the look out for new short story collections!

Thank you,

Corey.

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