Chrysalis | Granta

  • Published: 04/05/2023
  • ISBN: 9781783789085
  • Granta Books
  • 304 pages


Anna Metcalfe

She is watched by Elliot as he trains in the gym. He notices 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 observed by her former colleague Susie, who offers her sanctuary and support as she leaves her partner and her job and rebuilds her life, transforms her body, and reinvents herself online. Each of these three witnesses to the woman desires closeness. Each is left with only the husk of who she was 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.

An oblique, intimate novel told in lucid, beguiling prose, 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 is means when someone choses to leave society behind. It is strikingly contemporary story about the search for answers and those we trust to give them to us.

Unputdownable, ice-cool and wittily contemporary, Chrysalis announces Anna Metcalfe as a distinctive and daring fresh literary voice. Utterly original and with shades of Ottessa Moshfegh, Patricia Lockwood, Yoko Ogawa and Alexandra Kleeman, this brilliant portrayal of desire and transcendence had me totally entranced

Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti

WOW. I just devoured this. What a wonderful, painful, funny novel... It's so beautiful and cruel, and summed up just perfectly by the ending - a flawless final sentence, one of the best I've ever read, it absolutely gave me chills

Avni Doshi

Incredibly smart and totally unique... Ranging from online obsession, to mothers and daughters, to the very nature of selfhood, the whole thing is strange and warm and, crucially, very funny... I savoured every last brilliant sentence

Ruth Gilligan, author of The Butchers, winner of the 2021 RSL Ondaatje Prize

The Author

Anna Metcalfe‘s fiction has been published in The Best of British Short Stories, The Dublin Review and Lighthouse Journal, among other places. She has an MA and PhD in Creative Writing from UEA and lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. In 2014 she was the youngest writer ever to be shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award for her story ‘Number Three’ and in 2016 her debut collection of short stories Blind Water Pass was published by John Murray.

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