An Observer Best Debut of the Year
‘Oozes with erotic tension from the start’ Sarah Winman, author of Still Life
‘Sublime … I loved this book’ Julia Armfield, author of Our Wives Under the Sea
‘I’ve completely fallen for the astonishing Mrs S’ Andrea Lawlor, author of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
Powerfully sensual and sublimely stylish, Mrs S is a tale of queer love that smoulders with the heat of summer.
In an elite English boarding school where the girls kiss the marble statue of the famous dead author who used to walk the halls, a young Australian woman arrives to take up the antiquated role of ‘matron’. Within this landscape of immense privilege, in which the girls can sense the slightest weakness in those around them, she finds herself unsure of her role, her accent and her body.
That is until she meets Mrs S, the headmaster’s wife, a woman who is her polar opposite: assured, sophisticated, a paragon of femininity. Over the course of a long, restless heatwave, the matron finds herself irresistibly drawn ever closer into Mrs S’s world and their unspoken desire blooms into an illicit affair of electric intensity. But, as the summer begins to fade, both women know that a choice must be made.
K Patrick’s portrait of the butch experience is revelatory; exploring the contested terrain of our bodies, our desires and the constraints society places around both. Mrs S marks the arrival of a major new literary talent, unlike any other.
‘The intense physicality of the novel’s emotions and its stylish, stripped-back prose make for an arresting pairing’ Observer
‘Taut with anticipation through the final line’ Lillian Fishman, author of Acts of Service
‘An extraordinary novel’ Marina Kemp, author of Nightingale
‘Reading Mrs S is a delicious experience’ Rupert Thomson, author of Never Anyone But You
K Patrick is a writer based in Glasgow. Their poetry has appeared in Poetry Review and Five Dials, and was shortlisted for The White Review Poetry Prize in 2021, the same year that K was shortlisted for The White Review Story Prize. In 2020, they were runner-up in the Ivan Juritz Prize and the Laura Kinsella Fellowship. Mrs S is their debut novel.
”'The intense physicality of the novel’s emotions and its stylish, stripped-back prose make for an arresting pairing” - Hephzibah Anderson, Observer
”'A story so seductively and intelligently observed that its pulse continues long after the final page. To dismantle a certain queer narrative into something else is rare and thrilling. I haven’t read anything quite like it. Yes. I loved it” - Sarah Winman, author of Still Life
”'Mrs S is sublime - at once a languorous slow-burn and a moving reflection on queerness and what it is to be and be seen. I loved this book” - Julia Armfield, author of Our Wives Under the Sea
”'I’ve completely fallen for the astonishing Mrs. S … K Patrick’s watchful measured prose simmers, edging the reader along, asking Will I get what I want? and What then?” - Andrea Lawlor, author of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
”'K Patrick’s breathless, splintered prose vividly communicates their subject, which is erotic longing and a desire that must remain clandestine. What a beautifully crafted and uncannily accomplished debut. What an irresistible new voice” - Rupert Thomson, author of Never Anyone but You
”'A voluptuous performance in the art of withholding, taut with anticipation through the final line” - Lillian Fishman, author of Acts of Service
”'An extraordinary novel: poignant and tough, tender and unsentimental. K Patrick examines with their almost forensic gaze the tiny words and touches that can bring us, however fleetingly, in from the outside” - Marina Kemp, author of Nightingale
”'Such a delicately detailed fresco of longing that, upon finishing reading, I felt the incongruous sensation of watching a bird sleep. I can’t explain why; I only know I love this book” - Zain Khalid, author of Brother Alive