“This is energetic writing, ripe with menace and wit.”- The Stinging Fly
SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH:
Verity Bell has very big eyes, alphabetical leanings and a look that says she’d like to get inside your brain somehow. Or so her best friend Sally tells her, confessing that back at their school, most children thought she was a witch. Sally, a fellow only-child to whom Verity has been glued since girlhood, has become a worry in her twenties because she has actually allowed a married man to set her up in a flat to be his mistress. Verity sees no correlation whatsoever between this retrograde and fairly shocking love-nest and her own transforming passion for a married man called John, who surely yearns to leave his wife and three children to be with her. Doesn’t he? Verity lives in a world of her own and we glimpse her grudges (from ‘ants’ to the ‘zeitgeist’), her personal development (from ‘ambition’ to ‘wobbling’) and her idiosyncratic network of obsessions (pick a letter, any letter) in a narrative arranged alphabetically by topics in the most curious and satisfying way.
“Verity Bell is a very odd young woman, and this delightfully original novel catalogues her worries and weird flights of fancy, arranged in alphabetical order… Charming and darkly funny.” – Marie Claire
“Salway has stitched together a delightful, original novel that both guides you and makes you search yourself. The novel explores love and work, friendship and family, how people are connected – or disconnected – in various structures and the extent to which we can restructure our lives, keep making new beginnings.” – Mslexia
GETTING THE PICTURE
“Salway (Tell Me Everything) refutes the adage about old dogs and new tricks in this breezy epistolary novel set in a British retirement home. Not that the residents of Pilgrim House don’t know plenty of old tricks already: Salway’s appreciation of her characters is refreshingly nonpatronizing—her oldsters have rich and naughty pasts, but live in the present, very much alive and eager to gossip, conspire, and seduce. George Griffiths is the archetypal stuffy widower, determined to control the behavior of anyone near him. He’s also the only male resident of Pilgrim House until Martin Morris, a photographer who specializes in female nudes, moves in with his cameras and his photo collection. Martin’s a schemer who, unbeknownst to George, had an affair with George’s wife decades earlier and has been obsessed with her since; he saved all the letters he wrote her but never sent, and continues to write to her about his increasingly menacing plans. Although the epistolary device requires that some key revelations are reported from a distance, relationships and characters evolve nicely in this lighthearted novel about family and lovers and the not-so-lighthearted secrets that separate them. (Apr.)” From PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
TELL ME EVERYTHING:
There are moments when you really can stop time. Make a decision to go one way, and not the other. There’s just a sense, a prickle on the skin, that tells you you’re at the crossroads. But it’s only when you’re too far along to change direction that you realise you ever had a choice. She didn’t mean to tell the story, or have it end that way. She just got a little carried away. It has been several years since she confided in a teacher, but Molly Drayton is still feeling the aftershocks. When a chance meeting with a stranger leads to an offer of a room in exchange for telling her stories, she jumps at the chance. Slowly she builds a new, eccentric family around herself: Tim, her secretive boyfriend, who just might be a spy; Miranda, the lovelorn hairstylist; Liz, the lusty librarian; Mr. Roberts, landlord and listener; and his French wife, Mrs. Roberts. Much to Molly’s surprise, she finds the stories she tells now are her key to creating a completely different life. Suddenly, her future is full of endless possibilities. The trouble is, Molly’s not the only one telling tales. And the truth is always stranger than fiction. Sarah Salway’s witty, finely-tuned and poignant story of many stories is a uniquely entrancing chronicle.
“I galloped through this … couldn’t stop once I’d started … spiky, sparky, pithy and deep” Kate Long, author of The Bad Mother’s Handbook
“Tell Me Everything by Sarah Salway would have to win my best book of 2007 award, if I had one. This book is magnificent. I opened it last night and didn’t stop reading it until I had finished. The nearest voice I can think to compare Sarah Salway’s to is Lorrie Moore’s and coming from me that is a big compliment.” – Bookeywookey
THE PILLOWBOOK POSTCARDS:
A limited series of five postcards based on the classic Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, a project I’ve been working on with the textile artist, Anne Kelly. You can find out more (and buy a set) here.
LEADING THE DANCE:
Secrets and their consequences run deep through Sarah Salway’s short stories in this haunting and sharply written collection. A bored housewife welcomes the nomadic painter of family pets into her home and commissions a portrait of her fridge; a schoolboy learns how to survive when his gang turns against him; a man’s life is turned around when he hears his wife make a new noise in bed, and in the title story, a dance between husband and wife at a school ceilidh turns into a battle for survival. This is domestic life turned on its head, with Salway’s witty and economic prose capturing the private moments of transformation by some very different characters on the edge.
“These short stories explore the often wavering borderland between love and boredom, sensuality and repression, fidelity and betrayal. They are written with a spare and subtle elegance.” – D M Thomas, author of The White Hotel
“Leading the Dance is a brilliant collection of short stories from the always excellent Sarah Salway.” – Authortrek
“Salway is fearless in her choice of subjects: she is good on contemporary themes of love, betrayal and twenty-first century isolation, as well as sensuality and violence…This is energetic writing, ripe with menace and wit.” – The Stinging Fly
MESSAGES is the result of an exciting writing collaboration between Lynne Rees and Sarah Salway. Ranging from moving to the playful, the themes of love, sex, life, death and chocolate all take their place in this unique book of 300 pieces of 300 words.
“It is a beautiful tome…fat and square and colourful and I have become addicted to a few entries every night. This is a gem of a book and I would encourage anyone with even a passing interest in something different to give it a go.” – Scott Pack
Chapters and stories also appear in these books:
SHORT CIRCUIT – A Guide to the Art of the Short Story (edited by Vanessa Gebbie)
WRITING WORKS (edited by Gillie Bolton, Victoria Field and Kate Thompson)