I’m pleased to share my review for A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington on my book blog today. Thank you to Quercus Books for a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. This book will be published on the 3rd of September in the UK and can be pre-ordered now from all good bookshops.
A lyrical and atmospheric homage to the strange and extraordinary, perfect for fans of Angela Carter and Erin Morgenstern.
This is the story of The Greatest Funambulist Who Ever Lived…
Born into a post-war circus family, our nameless star was unwanted and forgotten, abandoned in the shadows of the big top. until the bright light of Serendipity Wilson threw her into focus.
Now an adult, haunted by an incident in which a child was lost from the circus, our narrator, a tightrope artiste, weaves together her spellbinding tales of circus legends, earthy magic and folklore, all in the hope of finding the child… But will her story be enough to bring the pair together again?
Beautiful and intoxicating, A Girl Made of Air brings the circus to life in all of its grime and glory; Marina, Manu, Serendipity Wilson, Fausto, Big Gen and Mouse will live long in the hearts of readers. As will this story of loss and reconciliation, of storytelling and truth.
This story is full of mysteries and emotions, that it is difficult to know where to begin with my review. So I will suggest that first you look at the stunning cover design, which is beautiful and I look forward to seeing it in bookshops soon.
As the synopsis states, the narrator, was a tightrope artiste, who rose up from being an unloved child of Marina hiding in the shadows, to be the main attraction at the circus. The story is so much darker than I expected, and it is an uncomfortable read in places due to the topics covered. However, it is a fascinating story, full of secrets and magic.
An impressive debut novel and I look forward to reading more from Nydia Hatherington in the future. Her writing brought the circus to life, not just the glitz and glamour of the inside of the Big Top, but also how grubby life was for the circus people, camping in fields in all weathers and continually moving around the country. This is a book full of stories within stories with a huge cast of characters.
Nydia Hetherington (from Goodreads):
My first memories are of the Isle of Man, where I lived as a small child. When my family relocated to Leeds, I grew up dreaming of fairies and of the sea (I still do). In my early twenties I moved to London to embark on an acting career, then to Paris, where I continued my theatre training before creating a theatre company and becoming a clown (red nose included). Returning to London almost a decade later, I worked in a shoe shop while studying for a creative writing degree at Birkbeck University. To keep the wolf from my door I’ve had many jobs, including working in shops and cafes and kitchens, sometimes in offices and most recently in an art gallery. These days I live on the edge of London with my husband and our plump (she’s got big bones) cat.
My favourite books often have a touch of the magical about them. At the same time, I love fierce writing that reaches into the depths of the human experience.