Tuesday 23 April 2013

The Art of Leaving by Anna Stothard

Back in January 2011, I read The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard, my review is here. The Pink Hotel was longlisted for the Orange Prize and is currently being adapted for film.  

Anna Stothard's latest novel, The Art Of Leaving was published by Alma Books on 28 March 2013.

Leaving comes naturally to Eva Elliott: she spent her childhood abandoning schools and cities. Now she enjoys the thrill of saying goodbye much more than the butterflies of a first smile or kiss. There s so much more potential in walking away, and Eva has a dangerously vivid imagination. During a rainy summer in London, where Eva lives in a rackety Soho flat with her boyfriend, she dreams of exit strategies. She becomes fascinated by a golden eagle who has escaped the Zoo to roam the city, and thinks up stories about the ghostly figure of a girl who lurks in the window of a strip club opposite her office. When a beguiling stranger called Grace turns up in Eva s life armed with a conspiratorial smile and an unsettling secret, Eva is left unsure what is in her head and what is reality. In this haunting story about exits and departures, Anna Stothard reveals that love has its fault lines and freedom comes at a price.

The story is set in Soho, London - not the most beautiful of settings, but Anna Stothard's writing transforms this dreary part of the city into a sensual, often mysterious place with her wonderfully descriptive writing.  She creates an almost magical fantasy world from what is in reality a run-down nightclub called The Scorpio Club - a place about which Eve, the lead character,  dreams up stories of a long magician's assistant.  Eve herself is something of an enigma.  The reader really never quite understands her.  Eve enjoys endings, her life has been a series of endings and she remembers each one in fine detail.

This is a slow, yet intriguing story that centres around place and character rather than plot line.  Anna Stothard uses brilliantly evocative phrases that conjure up a world that is almost bewitching at times.

My thanks to Alma Books for sending a copy for review.

Anna Stothard lived in Los Angeles for two years, studying at the American Film Institute, before returning to London. She has written weekly columns in The Observer and The Sunday Telegraph, as well as articles in other newspapers. Her first novel, Isabel and Rocco, was published in 2004, followed by The Pink Hotel in 2011, which was longlisted for the Orange prize and has been translated all over the world. She lives in Chalk Farm, London
To find out more about Anna Stothard, visit her website and blog here, you can follow her on Twitter here

1 comment:

  1. Not an author I've come across before Anne - and to be honest the title (and cover) of 'The Pink Hotel' wouldn't have appealed to me. But reading your review has changed that. Another couple for the wishlist!