The Tidal Zone | Granta

  • Published: 03/06/2021
  • ISBN: 9781783787869
  • Granta Books
  • 336 pages

The Tidal Zone

Sarah Moss

Adam is a stay-at-home dad who is also working on a history of the bombing and rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral. He is a good man and he is happy. But one day, he receives a call from his daughter’s school to inform him that, for no apparent reason, fifteen-year-old Miriam has collapsed and stopped breathing. In that moment, he is plunged into a world of waiting, agonising, not knowing. The story of his life and the lives of his family are rewritten and re-told around this shocking central event, around a body that has inexplicably failed.

In this exceptionally courageous and unflinching novel of contemporary life Sarah Moss goes where most of us wouldn’t dare to look, and the result is riveting – unbearably sad, but also miraculously funny and ultimately hopeful. The Tidal Zone explores parental love, overwhelming fear, illness and recovery. It is about clever teenagers and the challenges of marriage. It is about the NHS, academia, sex and gender in the twenty-first century, the work-life juggle, and the politics of packing lunches and loading dishwashers. It confirms Sarah Moss as a unique voice in modern fiction and a writer of luminous intelligence.

Sarah Moss's great gift is as a first-rate depicter of human emotions. Her character live and breathe in the way that readers need characters to do: as compassionate, sympathetic and recognisable individuals we can connect with utterly, as people struggling to cope with the realities of life... This is grown-up writing for grown-up readers, the kind of story that makes you think about your own life choices and close relationships. Few novels do that with such depth and clarity as Moss's has done so here

Lesley McDowell, Sunday Herald

Sarah Moss is an impressively flexible writer... The Tidal Zone may be something of a pioneer as a novel... A novel for our times... An intensely contemporary novel, with swingeing criticisms of this country today... An excellent read

Penelope Lively, Guardian

Sarah Moss is a writer of exceptional gifts, who can combine the profound and the prosaic, the contemporary and the historic, in a compelling narrative. She writes better than anyone I know about the way we live now, about our fears and obsessions and dreams, about mortality and parenthood and just keeping going from day to day. I love her work, and I loved this book. She gives us so much. She writes very freely and fearlessly, making up her own rules as she goes. She is also very funny

Margaret Drabble

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.

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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.’