A claustrophobic, literary dystopia set in the hot, luscious landscape of Andalusia from the author of The Golden Key.
“A richly imagined eco-gothic tale.” – The Guardian "Exquisitely realised.” – The Times
After the ravages of the Green Winter, Earth is a place of deep jungles and monstrous animals. The last of the human race is divided into surface dwellers and the people who live in the Upper Settlement, a ring perched at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Bearing witness to this divided planet is Pearl, a young techie with a thread of shuvani blood, who lives in the isolated forests of Gobari, navigating her mad mother and the strange blue light in the sky. But Pearl’s stepfather promises her to a starborn called Arlo, and the world Pearl thought she knew will never be the same again.
Set in the luscious landscape of Andalusia, this claustrophobic, dystopian reimagining of Wide Sargasso Sea is a literary fever dream, a blazing vision of self-destruction and transformation.
About the Author
Marian Womack, author of The Golden Key and The Swimmers, was born in Andalusia and educated in the UK. Her debut short story collection, Lost Objects (Luna Press, 2018) was shortlisted for two BSFA awards and one BFS award. She is a graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and she holds degrees from Oxford and Cambridge universities. She writes at the intersection between weird and gothic fiction, and her stories normally deal with strange landscapes, ghostly encounters, or uncanny transformations. Marian lives in Cambridge, at the edge of the Fens, with her husband, their children and two aging Spanish cats. When she is not writing she can be found working as an academic librarian, or editing books and pamphlets in her indie publishing project, Calque Press.
Praise for The Swimmers
"A meticulously detailed novel set in a vivid, believable eco-dystopia... Womack draws in readers immediately with her dreamy depictions of the landscape and its dangers. At its heart, however, the novel is a probing examination of cultural and class differences. Readers will be captivated." – Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“A richly imagined eco-gothic tale.” – The Guardian
"Exquisitely realised.” – The Times, 10 Best SF Books of 2021
For Annihilation fans, the prose is fluid & gorgeously intimate. The questions of our future—a sea of plastic/the intersection of class & climate change—are explored on a tender, personal scale. G.V. Anderson
Womack has an eye for both the beauty and the horror of the natural world. Like a strange fever dream, the world of The Swimmers is uncanny and unfamiliar, wonderfully compelling and utterly inescapable. One of my favourite books of the year. Helen Marshall
Jane Eyre meets Annihilation in this ingenious, bewitching novel. The prose is as lush and terrifying as the warped jungle Earth has become. This is speculative fiction at its best: thought-provoking, riveting, and gorgeously told. Jennie Melamed
Womack is an exciting and endlessly inventive writer. I look forward to reading everything she writes. Naomi Booth
Womack is a wonderful writer, and The Swimmers is a marvellous, heartbreaking exploration of the world we are busy creating, and the world we must then inhabit. Aliya Whiteley
Praise for The Golden Key
With hints of the brooding Gothic of Rawblood and Rebecca, this wonderfully creepy historical novel makes it absolutely clear that Marian Womack is a rising star. Tim Major
An intriguing and unsettling tale. . . Womack brings a great sense of the uncanny to the Fens. Alison Littlewood
The Golden Key mesmerizes… A beguiling mystery that lingers long after reading. Katherine Stansfield
A fey, unsettling vision of Norfolk, and London, that fans of The Essex Serpent will love... This book gives up its secrets like a puzzle box. G.V. Anderson
Afascinating, unsettling tale that shifts, mutates and changes meaning much like the eerie ruined house in the fens at the centre of this weird and brilliant debut novel. Lisa Tuttle
Praise for Lost Objects
Intriguing and illuminating… chockfull of interesting ideas about the natural world and ourselves. Jeff VanderMeer
Marian Womack weaves together the lyricism of Angela Carter, the mad imagination of China Miéville, and the earthiness of Robert Macfarlane. Helen Marshall
Luminous and disturbing as the unearthly things they describe, Marian Womack’s gorgeously written tales map the shifting boundaries between waking life and dream, past and future and our own profoundly unsettled present. Reading them left me with goosebumps, and the craving for more stories by this supremely gifted new writer. Elizabeth Hand