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Private Rites

By Julia Armfield

‘One of my favourite writers’ Florence Welch

‘A writer whose next move you wouldn’t want to miss’ Observer

The bestselling author of Our Wives Under the Sea returns with a stunning, unsettling novel following three sisters navigating queer love and faith at the end of the world.

There’s no way to bury a body in earth which is flooded

It is a fact consigned to history along with almost everything else

It’s been raining for a long time now, for so long that the lands have reshaped themselves. Old places have been lost. Arcane rituals and religions have crept back into practice.

Sisters Isla, Irene and Agnes have not spoken in some time when their estranged father dies. A famous architect revered for making the new world navigable, he had long cut himself off from public life. They find themselves uncertain of how to grieve his passing when everything around them seems to be ending anyway.

As the sisters come together to clear the grand glass house that is the pinnacle of his legacy, they begin to sense that the magnetic influence of their father lives on through it. Something sinister seems to be unfolding, something related to their mother’s long-ago disappearance and the strangers who have always been unusually interested in their lives. Soon, it becomes clear that the sisters have been chosen for a very particular purpose, one with shattering implications for their family and their imperilled world.

‘A book of extraordinary sentences, set in end-times which feel bleakly real yet pulse with a tireless, tangible force of love’ Megan Hunter, author of The End We Start From

Slick and slippery, Julia Armfield’s latest novel is the author at her finest‘ Kristen Arnett, author of With Teeth

‘Armfield’s signature cocktail of deadpan wit and staggering beauty’ Alice Slater, author of Death of a Bookseller

‘Julia Armfield is an era-defining writer’ Kaliane Bradley, author of The Ministry of Time

‘An astonishing ambitious novel’ Sarvat Hasin, author of The Giant Dark

lyrical, haunting, unsettling’ Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 11 Jun 2024
Pages: 208
ISBN: 978-0-00-860803-3
Price: £16.99 (Export Price) , £16.99, €None
Julia Armfield\'s work has been published in Granta, The White Review and Best British Short Stories 2019 and 2021. In 2019, she was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award. She was longlisted for the Deborah Rogers Award 2018, and won the White Review Short Story Prize 2018 and a Pushcart Prize in 2020. She is the author of salt slow, a collection of short stories, which was longlisted for the Polari Prize 2020 and the Edge Hill Prize 2020. Her debut novel, Our Wives Under the Sea, was shortlisted for the Foyles Fiction Book of the Year Award 2022 and won the Polari Prize 2023. She lives and works in London.

”'A book of extraordinary sentences, set in end-times which feel bleakly real yet pulse with a tireless, tangible force of love” - Megan Hunter, author of The End We Start From

”'Delivered with Julia Armfield’s signature cocktail of deadpan wit and staggering beauty… a sharply observed exploration of grief, family and the end of the world as we know it” - Alice Slater, author of Death of a Bookseller

”'Slick and slippery, Julia Armfield's latest novel is the author at her finest … Armfield writes the kind of books that stick with you for life. I am proud to be one of her biggest fans” - Kristen Arnett, author of With Teeth

”'Witty, brutal … Private Rites has the elemental power of a thunderstorm and the thrilling emotional honesty of a first kiss. Julia Armfield is an era-defining writer” - Kaliane Bradley, author of The Ministry of Time

”'The rain soaked world of Privates Rites is one you'll want to linger in … An astonishing ambitious novel that won't let you go” - Sarvat Hasin, author of The Giant Dark

”'Lyrical, haunting, unsettling, and J.G. Ballard-ian in apocalyptic scope … Deeply, passionately, messily human” - Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

”'Exquisite … Armfield exceeds herself, invoking profound, existential quandaries of kinship, romance, and urbanism in a prismatic tale of end-times … A masterful feat, and a joy to read - Armfield is awe-inspiring” - Peter Scalpello, author of Limbic

”'A sonorous portrayal of the family as a drowned world. A narrative voice so crystal-cut with dry affecting truths … that every page guillotines you with its wisdom” - Tom Benn, author of Oxblood

”'Armfield does with sentences what other people do with paintings. Beauty aches through every word of Private Rites” - Heather Parry, author of Orpheus Builds a Girl

”'Intimate, unnerving and sopping wet” - Alison Rumfitt, author of Brainwyrms