Night Waking | Granta
  • Published: 03/06/2021
  • ISBN: 9781783787685
  • Granta Books
  • 384 pages

Night Waking

Sarah Moss

Historian Anna Bennett has a book to write. She also has an insomniac toddler, a precocious, death-obsessed seven-year-old, and a frequently absent ecologist husband who has brought them all to Colsay, a desolate island in the Hebrides, so he can count the puffins. Ferociously sleep-deprived, torn between mothering and her desire for the pleasures of work and solitude, Anna becomes haunted by the discovery of a baby’s skeleton in the garden of their house. Her narrative is punctuated by letters home, written 200 years before, by May, a young, middle-class midwife desperately trying to introduce modern medicine to the suspicious, insular islanders. The lives of these two characters intersect unexpectedly in this deeply moving but also at times blackly funny story about maternal ambivalence, the way we try to control children, and about women’s vexed and passionate relationship with work. Moss’s second novel displays an exciting expansion of her range – showing her to be both an excellent comic writer and a novelist of great emotional depth.

Tartly humorous, sad and clever ... a passionately written meditation on motherhood, with all the monotony, desperation and visceral feelings faithfully recorded

Elizabeth Buchan, Sunday Times

Moss writes marvellously (and often hilariously) about the clash between career and motherhood. Allison Pearson for intellectuals

Kate Saunders, The Times

Fresh and illuminating... [Sarah] Moss is a wry, winning guide

Guardian

The Author

Sarah Moss is the author of several novels and a memoir of her year living in Iceland, Names for the Sea, shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize. Her novels are Summerwater, Cold Earth, Night Waking, Bodies of Light (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize), Signs for Lost Children (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize), The Tidal Zone (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize) and Ghost Wall, which was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2019.

More about the author →

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Two Ireland-based writers discussing national identity, disappointing holidays and art deco china.

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An excerpt from Sarah Moss's Ghost Wall, published by Granta Books.

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things that didn’t happen

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‘Suddenly, your heart began; suddenly in the darkness of your mother’s womb there was a crackle and a flash and out of nothing, the current began to run.’