The Voice in My Ear

The Voice in My Ear

3.51 (182 ratings by Goodreads)
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*A GUARDIAN BEST BOOK OF 2020*

'I absolutely loved it... I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed it.' NAOMI ALDERMAN

The first work of fiction from award-winning poet Frances Leviston offers a frighteningly perceptive slice of contemporary womanhood.

Ten women, all called Claire, are tangled up in complex power dynamics with their families, friends, and lovers. Though all are different ages, and leading different lives, each is haunted by the difficulty of living on her own terms, and by her capacity to harm and be harmed.

Claire is a teenaged babysitter left alone with a strange little girl and her imaginary friend. She is a woman trying to escape her elderly mother by employing an android carer. Claire is a young TV journalist wrecking her first big interview. Claire's boyfriend discovers more than he bargains for when he begins to read her diary.

And no matter her age or background, Claire is living in the shadow of a monstrous mother.

With startling insight and understanding, Frances Leviston offers a frighteningly perceptive slice of contemporary womanhood. In forensic, indelible prose that is often bleakly funny, The Voice in My Ear reveals a brilliant new voice in fiction - and invites us to consider our own place in the relationships that define us.

'Beautifully, psychologically exact. Leviston reveals, confronts, disarms and pares us from our unwitting, falser selves. Superbly written and fearlessly imagined fiction.' SARAH HALL

'Striking... the stories glance off each other to build a striking portrait of contemporary womanhood.' GUARDIAN, BEST FICTION 2020

**A TLS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020**
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 27mm | 392g
  • Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9781787331983
  • 544,828

Review Text

[A] brilliant debut, Leviston's stories - each of which feature a different girl or woman called Claire - use technology, needlework, sex and horror to uncover the fractures that run through family life.
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Review quote

I loved it. I absolutely loved it. It felt like a choose your own adventure version of somebody's life... I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed it. It's a writer putting herself through her paces - it's showing us what she can do and I'm really excited to see what she does next. -- Naomi Alderman * BBC Radio 4 Front Row * Brilliant, bracing... Dazzling... One of the many triumphs of this original, peculiarly truthful book is to leave us questioning what kindness is and what care is, no longer able to take the platitudes of daily life for granted also unwilling to leave them behind. -- Lara Feigel * Guardian * It's hard to explain how good this fiction debut by Frances Leviston is... So thrilling... Outstandingly well written. -- Claire Harman * Times Literary Supplement *Books of the Year* * Frances Leviston's debut work of fiction positively knocked my socks off. Each of the 10 stories in The Voice in My Ear is about a different woman called Claire - an apt appellation for characters illuminating aspects of modern life... She has triumphantly succeeded in turning a poetic perceptivity to the [short story] form. -- Mia Levitin * Financial Times * [The Voice in My Ear has] a psychological and emotional coherence unusual for a story collection... You can feel the subtext pulse between the lines and occasionally, thrillingly, it surges onto the page... Extraordinary... Leviston is so skilled at noticing and cataloguing the emotional abrasion of being a daughter, the toll of motherhood and love's ability to wound... But these responses are matched, and exceeded, by the admiration, excitement and exhilaration provoked by what she achieves on the page. -- Chris Power * Sunday Times * A sharp, insightful story collection... Leviston is a keen observer of the ways other people can burrow deep inside an individual's mind... The emotional impact of such relationships are, in Leviston's hands, devastatingly, thrillingly clear. * New Statesman * Award-winning poet Frances Leviston's impressive debut work of fiction...works brilliantly...inordinately more than a standard short-story collection... Leviston's imagery leaps off the page... I am not going to forget [these characters] any time soon. -- Lucy Scholes * i * I absolutely loved these stories. They are by turns hilarious, horrifying and haunting - and always psychologically acute. Although it's a story collection it is very much unified as an exploration of the way that the same themes and preoccupations pursue us through our lives. A tour de force - I'm thrilled to see what Leviston does next. * Naomi Alderman * Beautifully, psychologically exact. Leviston reveals, confronts, disarms and pares us from our unwitting, falser selves. Superbly written and fearlessly imagined fiction. * Sarah Hall * [A] brilliant debut, Leviston's stories - each of which feature a different girl or woman called Claire - use technology, needlework, sex and horror to uncover the fractures that run through family life. * Guardian *Six of the best recent collections* *
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About Frances Leviston

Frances Leviston is the author of two collections of poetry: Public Dream, shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Jerwood-Aldeburgh First Collection Prize; and Disinformation, shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. In 2015 she was shortlisted for the BBC Short Story Award. She lives in Northumberland and is a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Manchester.
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Rating details

182 ratings
3.51 out of 5 stars
5 14% (26)
4 38% (70)
3 33% (60)
2 12% (22)
1 2% (4)
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