Incantations

Adam Scovell’s début novel Mothlight was one of my highlights of 2019. So it was a pleasure to be able to write for The Guardian on his follow-up, How Pale the Winter Has Made Us:

Scovell doesn’t aspire to realism: instead he invests his talents in hallucinatory imagery, haunting atmospherics and prose that again blends the stately melancholia of WG Sebald with the logorrhoea of Thomas Bernhard. Abstruse and florid as Scovell’s style can be, its rhythms over time become incantatory, and its mournful musicality and serpentine recursions are as hypnotic here as in Mothlight. And while its simple transference to another narrator may suggest a limit to his creative powers, diminishing Isabelle’s distinctive persona, Scovell scales up something his debut confined to domestic settings: a disorienting effect described by Isabelle as the “quiver[ing]” of “temporal instability”.

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