Chrysalis | Granta

  • Published: 07/03/2024
  • ISBN: 9781783789108
  • Granta Books
  • 304 pages


Anna Metcalfe

She is noticed by Elliot as he trains in in the gym. He sees her dedication to building her body and taking up space, and he is drawn to her strength. She is observed by her mother, as she grows from a taciturn, tremulous child into a determined and distant woman, who severs all familial ties. She is watched by her former colleague Susie, who offers her sanctuary and support as she leaves her partner and rebuilds her life, transforming her body and reinventing herself online. Each of these three witnesses desires closeness. Each is left with only the husk of the person they thought they knew, before she became someone else: a woman on a singular and solitary path with the power to inspire and to influence her followers, for good and ill.

Chrysalis a story about solitude and selfhood, and about the blurred line between self-care and narcissism. It is about controlling the body and the mind, about the place of the individual within society and what it means when someone chooses to leave society behind. It is a strikingly contemporary story about the search for answers and those we trust to give them to us.

This is a very well-written novel that is shrewdly revealing about the alluring and insidious nature of contemporary consumer culture. It fully justifies Anna Metcalfe's inclusion on Granta's recent Best of Young British Novelists list


Chrysalis is a savvy exploration of one woman's desire to inspire others, and how self-presentation can tip into obsession...


Strikingly original... explores the dark side of influencer culture and probes questions of solitude, perception and self-invention... a triumph of observation and control

Editor's Choice, Bookseller

The Author

Anna Metcalfe is a writer and lecturer in creative writing at the University of Birmingham. Her story collection Blind Water Pass was published in 2016. Her first novel, Chrysalis, will be published in 2023.

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Anna Metcalfe on

Fiction | Granta 163


Anna Metcalfe

‘He was grumpy in a way that I enjoyed. It reassured me that he was easily displeased – he was discerning, I thought.’

Fiction by Anna Metcalfe.