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Winner of the 2017 Edge Hill Short Story Prize.

Daisy Johnson's Fen is a liminal land. Real people live their lives here. They wrestle with familiar instincts, with sex and desire, with everyday routine. But the wild is always close at hand, ready to erupt. This is a place where animals and people commingle and fuse, where curious metamorphoses take place, where myth and dark magic still linger. So here a teenager may starve herself into the shape of an eel. A house might fall in love with a girl. A woman might give birth to a - well what?

English folklore and a contemporary eye, sexual honesty and combustible invention - in Fen, these elements have come together to create a singular, startling piece of modern fiction.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 144 x 204 x 23mm | 317g
  • Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1910702331
  • 9781910702338
  • 423,049

Review Text

"[A] remarkable debut… Johnson’s well-judged narrative distance and her fine use of language…help to transform the familiar, the domestic, the provincial into something terribly beautiful."
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Review quote

"Daisy Johnson's story collection Fen was unanimously beloved... firmly situating her among the UK's most exciting new voices." -- Marta Bausells * Elle * "Just finished rereading Daisy Johnson's story collection Fen. Just as powerful and beautiful and dark and strange as the first time. One of my favourite books of all time." -- Jeff Vandermeer "Johnson's heady broth of folklore, female sexuality and fenland landscape reads like a mix of Graham Swift and Angela Carter... For atmosphere, originality and plain chutzpah, this is an impressive first collection." -- Sarah Crown * Guardian * "Poetic, risky... Johnson's slippery and sensual stories-cum-chapters have an amphibious elemental quality and a contemporary provincial witchiness of their own." -- Phil Baker * Sunday Times * "There is big, dangerous vitality herein - this book marks the emergence of a great, stomping, wall-knocking talent." -- Kevin Barry "Reading the stories brought the sense of being trapped in a room slowly, but very surely, filling up with water. You think: this can't be happening. Meanwhile, hold your breath against the certainty it surely is." -- Cynan Jones, author of The Dig "Within these magical, ingenious stories lies all of the angst, horror and beauty of adolescence. A brilliant achievement." -- Evie Wyld "In a year that made me furious, Daisy Johnson's Fen was a howl I didn't know I needed. [...] It's hauntingly written and full of unabashedly, refreshingly angry women who are hungry - both figuratively and literally - for things long denied them." -- Celeste Ng "[A] remarkable debut... Johnson's well-judged narrative distance and her fine use of language...help to transform the familiar, the domestic, the provincial into something terribly beautiful." -- Anna Girling * Times Literary Supplement * "[A] startling and inventive debut... The stories in Fen invest familiar scenarios with fresh energy." -- Anthony Cummins * New Statesman * "Johnson is possessed of the rare ability to trust in the power of language, and this allows her to trust in the force and the fecundity of her voice... An assembly of imaginings that linger in the mind as dark miracles and shadowed celebrations, and as intensely resonant reckonings with our hidden ways of being." -- Matthew Adams * National * "Johnson's excellent debut is set in the precarious and artificial landscape of the East Anglian fens... Fen has been compared to the stories of Angela Carter, but for me it recalls the poetry of Robin Robertson." -- Jonathan McAloon * Spectator * "Strange, half-magical short stories...I've had my eye on it for weeks." -- Sarah Perry * Guardian * "I've been working my way slowly through Fen and not wanting it to end - Daisy marries realism to the uncanny so well that the strangest turnings ring as truth. The echoes between stories give the collection a wonderfully satisfying cohesion, so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I cannot wait to see what she does next." -- Sara Taylor, author of The Shore "Dark magical realism meets incisive social critique and deep-sea psychological diving in this arresting short- story collection... Atmosphere is the driving force in these stories, imbued with the damp, liminal qualities of their setting, and expressed through sensual, elemental descriptions of land, water and skies... [An] outstanding and unforgettable debut." -- Juanita Coulson * Lady * "With more than a passing nod to Graham Swift's Waterland, Fen weaves together the gothic magical realism, and fairytale. The best of them have real power... Fen is an ambitious first collection that marks out Daisy Johnson as a writer to watch." -- R. M. Bond-Webster * Eastern Daily Press * "Vivid and unsettling. Johnson's brilliant short stories will haunt and taunt you." * Psychologies * "Fen is uncanny and fantastic: it will be really exciting to see what Johnson does next." * Emerald Street, Book of the Year * "An absorbing read, blending dark magical realism and social critique... The stories are made memorable by their uncanny imagery and the rich originality of the language. But a strongly conjured atmosphere is the driving force, with the damp, liminal qualities of the setting seeping into every aspect of the narratives. A brilliant debut." * Lady * "Tremendously strange short stories but they stay with you." -- William Leith * Evening Standard *
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About Daisy Johnson

Daisy Johnson was born in 1990. Her debut short story collection, Fen, was published in 2016. She is the winner of the Harper's Bazaar Short Story Prize, the A.M. Heath Prize and the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. She currently lives in Oxford by the river.
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Rating details

3,259 ratings
3.64 out of 5 stars
5 20% (646)
4 36% (1,186)
3 33% (1,090)
2 9% (289)
1 1% (48)
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