Night Waking | Granta

  • Published: 03/02/2011
  • ISBN: 9781847083753
  • 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 eight novels, including Ghost Wall and The Tidal Zone. Her account of her time in Iceland, Names for the Sea, was shortlisted for the 2013 RSL Ondaatje Prize and she has three times been shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize.

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