Canongate's lead debut fiction for the first half of 2019. Inspired by Robinson Crusoe and Frankenstein, My Name is Monster is a novel about power, about isolation, and about female relationships.
After the Sickness has killed off her parents, and the bombs have fallen on the last safe cities, Monster emerges from the arctic vault which has kept her alive. When she washes up on the coast of Scotland, everyone she knows is dead, and she believes she is alone in an empty world.
Monster begins the long walk south, scavenging and learning the contours of this familiar land made new. Slowly, piece by piece, she begins to rebuild a life. Until, one day, she finds a girl: feral, and ready to be taught all that Monster knows. Changing her own name to Mother, Monster names the child after herself. As young Monster learns from Mother, she also discovers her own desires, realising that she wants very different things to the woman who made, but did not create, her.
Inspired by Robinson Crusoe and Frankenstein, My Name is Monster is a novel about power, about the things that society leaves imprinted on us when the rules no longer apply, and about the strength and the danger of a mother's love.
About the Author
Born in Cumbria, Katie Hale is a poet, freelance journalist and educator. She took part in Penguin Random House's inaugural WriteNow scheme in 2018, has held Emerging Writer in Residence posts at Theatre by the Lake and Creative Futures Cumbria, and is currently working on an oral story-sharing project with the National Trust. Her debut poetry pamphlet, Breaking the Surface, was published by Flipped Eye in 2017. Her poetry has been awarded the Jane Martin and Ware Poetry Prizes, and has been shortlisted for the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize. My Name is Monster is her first novel.
Fresh and powerful . . . Hale's writing is assured and . . . strikingly beautiful . . . Most of all, the book has a great generosity and empathy for monsterdom, and refreshingly allows its characters to find happiness without becoming more ordinary . . . Hale is certainly a skilful writer with a compelling voice, and her ideas are bold and promising * * Guardian * *
A terrific piece of writing; tough and tender and insightful. Loved it -- JOANNE HARRIS
A complex, accomplished debut. The prose dazzles while the themes of feminism, power and fertility sneak in for a gut-punch. It kept me gripped from the first page, and the characters continue to live and breathe in my imagination -- KIRSTY LOGAN, author of THE GRACEKEEPERS
Taut, tough and sensitive, the narrative conjures up a devastated world, inhabited by two intriguing characters, with precision and real atmosphere * * Daily Mail * *
Katie Hale has written two fascinating, flawed and compelling characters and, with only two people and an empty world, has created a novel that is gripping, insightful and unique -- CLAIRE FULLER, author of OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS
A gripping study of loneliness and what it can do to your psyche . . . Hale's style means we'll be interested in what she writes next * * Herald * *
A riveting and disturbing novel, part twisted fairy tale and part dystopian nightmare, in which the primal human need to find meaning and love shines through the darkness of a ruined world -- MICK KITSON, author of SAL
Powerful and unflinching . . . This is a humane, tender and often painful exploration of the ways in which daughters consider themselves to be braver, smarter and more independent than their mothers, as well as the strength of love and hope in an empty world. Hale has crafted a gripping and intense dystopian fairytale . . . Beautifully written . . . A must-read * * The Skinny * *