Follow Me to Ground

Follow Me to Ground

3.58 (6,329 ratings by Goodreads)
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One of Literary Hub's Favorite Books of the Year

A haunted, surreal debut novel about an otherworldly young woman, her father, and her lover that culminates in a shocking moment of betrayal--one that upends our understanding of power, predation, and agency.

Ada and her father, touched by the power to heal illness, live on the edge of a village where they help sick locals--or "Cures"--by cracking open their damaged bodies or temporarily burying them in the reviving, dangerous Ground nearby. Ada, a being both more and less than human, is mostly uninterested in the Cures, until she meets a man named Samson. When they strike up an affair, to the displeasure of her father and Samson's widowed, pregnant sister, Ada is torn between her old way of life and new possibilities with her lover--and eventually comes to a decision that will forever change Samson, the town, and the Ground itself.

Follow Me to Ground is fascinating and frightening, urgent and propulsive. In Ada, award-winning author Sue Rainsford has created an utterly bewitching heroine, one who challenges conventional ideas of womanhood and the secrets of the body. Slim but authoritative, Follow Me to Ground lingers long after its final page, pulling the reader into a dream between fairy tale and nightmare, desire and delusion, folktale and warning.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 147 x 213 x 18mm | 318g
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 1982133635
  • 9781982133634
  • 967,708

Review quote

One of LitHub's Favorite Books of the Year
Palm Beach Post, Buzzfeed, and LitHub's Most Anticipated of 2020
One of AV Club's New Books to Read This January
A Daily Break January Latest Read
One of's All New Genre-Bending Books Coming Out in January!

"Refreshingly, the novel disregards the predilections of contemporary literary fiction and instead veers toward allegory...What's best in the novel is its idiosyncratic vision of the meaning of girlhood and first love...The tale pulses with images of opening and entering, into the ground, into patients' bodies, in sexual union. The suggestion is that a teenage crush is an experience of haunting and being haunted, and that maturity comes through a process of utter, ruinous self-absorption."
--New York Times Book Review

"Sue Rainsford's fresh and exciting first novel, Follow Me to Ground, reads like a dark fairy tale...a pleasure to read. Seeing the world from Ada's perspective is intoxicating, and as she grows in her power, we feel lucky to be taken along for the ride. With language that's visceral and jarringly beautiful, Rainsford has created a mysterious world that left me wanting to hear more tales of the strange healers and their trusting Cures."

"Part fairytale, part myth, with a touch of horror and a heavy dose of magical realism, [Follow Me to Ground] is unsettling in the best way. Ada's otherness allows us to see human illness at a remove and to consider what it might mean to be truly healed."
--Electric Literature

"In this serenely haunting tale, told in prose at once lyrical and unsettling, a lonely inhuman girl running a magical curing business with her father searches for a way to come alive...Visceral in its descriptions and carried by a spellbinding first-person narrative intertwined with lore from fearful Cures, this unworldly story is a well-crafted and eerie exploration of desire... beautifully intoxicating,"
--Shelf Awareness

"As the world around us becomes more frightening, we're seeing fiction reflect those terrors, becoming more expansive in its speculative, magical, and often apocalyptic themes; Sue Rainsford's debut falls directly into this camp. It's as much about our difficulty connecting with others as it is about family, community, and compassion... Follow Me to the Ground is deeply rooted in human flesh, bodies, and transformation."
--Thrillist, The Best Books of 2020 (So Far)

"Rainsford's protagonists, beings of the "Ground," live in isolation in the woods, tolerated by nearby villagers for their magical healing powers. Underworld elements keep creeping into this moody fairy tale, but a young woman's liberation is the main, intriguing attraction."
--Entertainment Weekly, 20 must-read books for January

"Rainsford draws readers into her arresting and disconcerting tale... "Follow Me to Ground" is a haunting and puzzling story that is distinctly unafraid to poke about the horror that can exist within an individual... readers will quickly fall entranced by Rainsford's earthy tale."
--TimaMarie Craven, The Ridgefield Press

"This wildly inventive story reads like a centuries' old myth you can't believe you've never heard before, and [Rainsford's] prose will hold you captive like a spider's thread."
--LitHub, Most Anticipated of 2020

"Follow Me to Ground is a haunting, intoxicating debut that establishes its author as one to watch in the future."
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Rating details

6,329 ratings
3.58 out of 5 stars
5 18% (1,119)
4 39% (2,446)
3 31% (1,951)
2 10% (632)
1 3% (181)
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