2021 - Shortlisted


This beautifully conceived and crafted novel makes time stand still, as a new mother is filled with an absence of feeling for her baby. Taking place over an evening and a lifetime, the narrative unfolds in circular, spiralling scenes and meditations without ever losing its focus. The fragmentation of singular moments builds to a strangely satisfying ending. This work pulls readers into a slow burn treatment of trauma that is entirely present but also part of a complex psychology inflected by all that has come before. 

Elegant and precise, this work is subtle in its intrigue, offering readers the freedom to weave their own conclusions as they retrace the woman’s life over 20 years: her lovers and friendships, a country cousin, mathematical formulae, deserts. Through a dexterous mix of dreamlike, real and delusional emotions and atmospheres, this fluent translation superbly conveys the peculiar and economic use of the writer’s language and style.