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Head of Zeus
In White Ink
05 Oct 2017 * EBOOK * £7.99 * 9781786691033

Darkly disturbing meditations on motherhood by an exceptional Irish writer. 

Fiction / FA (Fiction)
Extent: 304 pages
Exclusive: GB CA AU NZ IN ZA SG US
An Unravelling
Also by Elske Rahill
In White InkElske Rahill

Motherhood, nurture and violence – these are the themes of Elske Rahill's remarkable first collection, In White Ink. Rahill brings to life the psychological and physical reality of mothering, pregnancy and childbirth in ways that few others writers have attempted. Here is a biting realism, in the relations between men and women and in the expectations and failures of their assigned roles.

Each story is illumined by moments of harsh poetry. They are carefully crafted snapshots of our condition. In the title story, an isolated young mother is locked in to a custody battle with her abusive husband; 'Right to Reply' shows three generations of women confronting the terrible legacy of their family's past; in 'Toby', a woman obsessed with hygiene finally snaps, when she finds her home is infested with fleas. The precision of Rahill's prose, the stoicism of her unflinching narrative gaze, reveal characters caught up in violently emotional situations.

The version of motherhood found here is painful. Yet its endurance, as nature's greatest force, is brilliantly and compassionately rendered.

Elske Rahill grew up in Dublin and lives in Burgundy, France, with her partner and three children. She is the author of Between Dog and Wolf and the collection of short stories In White Ink, published by Head of Zeus in 2017.

A powerful set of linked stories, in the tradition of Claire Keegan, Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood.

Rahill's fiercely honest take on motherhood will attract controversy and drive sales.

A charismatic author will be very active in all forms of media in Britain and Ireland.

MARKET: Anne Enright, Toni Morrison, Rachel Cusk.


'This remarkable collection is a sometimes bleak, yet always compelling snapshot into maternity, nature, the inequality of social expectations and human compassion' The Bookseller

'Exquisite, savagely honest collection ... Bleak, but acutely insightful' Daily Mail

'Rahill has a keen sense of the varieties of sexual desire, of social inequality, grief and a withering eye for the ridiculous ... [Her] stories will kiss you goodnight and then give you nightmares' Irish Independent

'Rahill is a brilliant bloody writer – gossamer light prose laced with nuclear tipped torpedoes. I consumed these stories in one great greedy gulp. More please!' Rosita Sweetman

'Rahill offers a mix of mothers in her 11 stories, the most affecting of which is the first-person story of the titular In White Ink' Irish Times

'An impressive debut' Irish Times

'These stories draw you into their maternal arms then fling you to the gutter, leaving you baffled by the troubles you've witnessed in their deceptive warmth' Belfast Telegraph

'A number of Irish debut short story collections were published this year; standouts were June Caldwell's Room Little Darker and Elske Rahill's eagerly anticipated In White Ink' Irish Times

'[A] delicate, brutally honest collection' Sunday Express

'[Rahill's stories] fearlessly, nakedly, crash into the darker sides of real life' Irish Times Book of the Year

'I can not think of a short story writer who is more precise and grave in her laying out of that theme ... In White Ink captures women and mothers caught inside their lives; Rahill's art sets them free into ours' Guardian

'Beautifully written - and sometimes very dark. It explores motherhood and its conflicts, articulating the unsayable about the maternal experience' Irish Examiner

'Rahill is extraordinarily talented. She writes in a way that is both intellectual and intuitive' Irish Independent, Books of the Year

'Rahill, an excellent writer, is never predictable' Irish Examiner

'The title story stands out in the absolute precision of its rendition of a new mother's loss of agency to her overbearing and controlling male partner' TLS

'These bleak dramas are stimulating and unsettling. Their force is felt all the more powerfully through the measured precision of Rahill's prose which is usually grounded in the exact immediacy of everyday detail. The best stories here are textured and unnerving' The Phoenix

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