Cursed Bread (Hardback)Sophie Mackintosh (author)
Based on a true unsolved mystery and suffused with Mackintosh's deft use of dark atmospherics and gothic tone, Cursed Bread tracks a town gripped by macabre events and mass hysteria whilst uncovering the role of a simple baker's wife in the unfolding madness.
Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2023
From the Booker-nominated author of The Water Cure and Blue Ticket comes a chilling new feminist fable, based on the true story of an unsolved historical mystery...
'If you eat the bread, you'll die, he said. The statement made no sense, but it filled me with an electric dread.'
Elodie is the baker's wife. A plain, unremarkable person, largely ignored by her husband and everyone else, she burns with the secret hunger to be extraordinary, to be desired, to be seen. One day a charismatic new couple appear in town - the ambassador and his sharp-toothed wife, Violet - and Elodie quickly falls under their spell. All summer long she stalks them through the shining streets: inviting herself into their home, trying to decipher their coded conversations, longing to possess them at any cost.
Meanwhile, beneath the tranquil surface of daily life, strange things are happening. Six horses are found dead in a sun-drenched field, laid out neatly on the ground like an offering. Widows see their lost husbands walking up the river in the night, coming back to claim them. A teenage boy throws himself into the bonfire at the midsummer feast. A dark intoxication is spreading through the town, and when Elodie finally understands her role in it, it will be too late to stop.
Audacious and mesmerising, Cursed Bread is a fevered confession, an entry into memory's hall of mirrors, a fable of obsession and transformation. Sophie Mackintosh spins a darkly gleaming tale of a town gripped by hysteria, envy like poison in the blood, and desire that burns and consumes.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 307 g
Dimensions: 224 x 143 x 20 mm
'Sensuous and haunted, like Madame Bovary reworked as a ghost story- an incredible book about desire, pleasure, beauty. Sophie's fiction always has a gauzy quality, filled with strange, languid images, which rise to a narrative crescendo like clues in a detective novel. She makes it look effortless.' - Jo Hamya, author of Three Rooms'
'Intoxicating, sumptuous and savage, Cursed Bread has a gothic sensibility that is entirely original. In Mackintosh's hands, the strange, compulsive machinations of desire become luminous and ghastly all at once'. - Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine
'Sophie Mackintosh takes a true story and asks what any of us really know about what is true? Our desires poison us. Shame and longing intertwine. We hide even from ourselves... This novel is subtle and devouring; reading it is like being slowly swallowed by the night.' - Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Starling Days
'Vivid and shocking, written with stunning, incantatory prose,Cursed Bread is the kind of book that upends your nervous system.' - Julia May Jonas , author of Vladimir
'Cursed Bread is a gorgeously atmospheric and feverishly compulsive novel about amorphous longings and desires, and the hot shame of wanting more than you deserve.' -- Lara Williams, author of Supper Club
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