Violets | Granta

  • Published: 02/02/2023
  • ISBN: 9781783787289
  • Granta Books
  • 256 pages


Alex Hyde

A young woman, Violet, lies in a hospital bed in the closing days of the war. Her pregnancy is over and she is no longer able to conceive. With her husband deployed to the Pacific Front and her friends caught up in transitory love affairs, she must find a way to put herself back together.

In a small, watchful town in the Welsh valleys, another Violet contemplates the fate she shares with her unborn child. Unwed and unwanted, an overseas posting offers a temporary way out. Plunged into the heat and disorder of Naples, her body begins to reveal the responsibility it carries even as she is drawn into the burnished circle of a charismatic new friend, Maggie.

Between these two Violets, sung into being like a babe in a nursery rhyme: a son. As their lives begin to intertwine, a spellbinding story of women’s courage emerges, suffused with power, lyricism and beauty, from an exhilarating new voice in British fiction.

Hypnotic... its accumulative power will have you sobbing by the end

Evening Standard

I loved this moving, graceful novel, which writes through the years with a rare deftness of touch. Violets has a compelling, quiet power all the way to its exquisitely affecting end

Megan Hunter, author of The Harpy

Graceful... inventive... Babies - unborn, unwanted, mourned, impossible to conceive - link both Violets in a narrative that is skilfully progressed over the course of this quietly surprising book

The Irish Times

The Author

Alex Hyde is a lecturer at University College London. Violets, her first novel, is a fictional reimagining of her father’s story, drawing on family mythology and his personal archives. She lives with her family in South London.

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Alex Hyde on

Fiction | The Online Edition


Alex Hyde

‘There was the enamel pail of blood. She couldn’t think what she had done with it.’

An excerpt from Alex Hyde’s debut novel.

Granta Books Writing | The Online Edition

Notes on Craft

Alex Hyde

‘The scrubbing of floors or rugs. People down on their knees, “tamping” the stain.’ Alex Hyde on the everyday gestures that make a life.