This review was first published as a thread on Twitter; I’m going to repost some of these on the blog, sporadically. I’m calling it a ‘snapshot review’ because it was written as a snapshot of what I thought about the book at the time. 

Bonnie is a would-be writer, struggling to make ends meet in her new flat. Sylvia, her landlady, inveigles her way into Bonnie’s life, suggesting that they go on holiday to the seaside. But Sylvia knew Bonnie a long time ago, and her motives now are mysterious.

This is a tightly wound novel: there are strands on Bonnie, the story she’s writing, and Sylvia; placed so closely together that there’s little room to breathe. Events, feelings, and a general atmosphere of dread seem to seep between chapters, as Moore arranges her material to emphasise similarity and repetition.

So much remains non-specific that it’s impossible to pin down the novel completely. The feeling of dread grows, because it can’t be identified or understood.

Book details

Death and the Seaside (2016) by Alison Moore, Salt Publishing, 192 pages, paperback (review copy).