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No Season but the Summer - Matilda Leyser

No Season but the Summer

By: Matilda Leyser

Hardcover | 4 July 2023

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Spring and summer are my mother's time, autumn and winter are my husband's. What is left for me?

Persephone spends six months of the year under the ground with her husband, king of the dead, and six months on earth with her mother, goddess of the harvest. It has been this way for nine thousand years, since the deal was struck. But when she resurfaces this spring, something is different. Rains lash the land, crops grow out of season or not at all, there are people trying to build a road through the woods, and her mother does not seem able to stop them. The natural world is changing rapidly and even the gods have lost control.

While Demeter tries to regain her powers and fend off her daughter's husband, who wants to drag his queen back underground for good, Persephone finally gets a taste of freedom, joining a group of protestors. Used to blinking up at the world from below, as she looks down on the earth for the very first time from the treetops with activist Snow, Persephone realises that there are choices she can make for herself. But what will these choices mean for her mother, her husband, and for the new shoots of life inside her?

No Season but the Summer takes a classic myth and turns it on its head, asking what will happen when our oldest stories fail us, when all the rules have changed. It is, above all, a book about choice.

'Matilda Leyser's novel takes the eternal polarities - love and hate, life and death, summer and winter, possibility and impossibility - and brings them crashing together in a tumultuous story of gods living alongside humanity, mother-daughter love and loss, and a glimmer of hope despite it all. In No Season but the Summer, our world is still dying, but it is putting up a hell of a fight as it does so, reminding us that we can fight too, and that fighting for our lives might start with listening to the earth.'
-Stella Duffy, author of Theodora

'What a wonderful writer. Matilda Leyser's work is precise, poetic, hard-edged, rhythmical. It seethes with life, and feels both ancient and brand new.'
-David Almond, author of Skellig

'Matilda Leyser's mythic characters are gods and humans all at once; her tale of love and destruction is fuelled by ancient power and rich with contemporary resonance. And what beautiful writing! This striking novel conjures our deepest emotions - our feelings for each other, for the imperilled planet that is our only home. No Season but the Summer is a memorable debut.'
-Erica Wagner, author of Mary and Mr Eliot

About the Author

Matilda Leyser read English Literature at King's College, London and then ran away to join the circus. She trained as an aerialist, working up a rope, collaborating with dance and theatre companies, making her own work, and performing in diverse venues, including the National Theatre, Shakespeare's Globe, and the Royal Opera House. After ten years in the air, she decided to come down to earth and take up the far more dangerous act of writing on the ground. She has two children, and is the founder and director of an international movement for creative mothers and carers called M/Others Who Make: She also works as an associate director with Improbable, a world-renowned theatre company.
Industry Reviews
'Matilda Leyser's novel takes the eternal polarities - love and hate, life and death, summer and winter, possibility and impossibility - and brings them crashing together in a tumultuous story of gods living alongside humanity, mother-daughter love and loss, and a glimmer of hope despite it all. In No Season but the Summer, our world is still dying, but it is putting up a hell of a fight as it does so, reminding us that we can fight too, and that fighting for our lives might start with listening to the earth.' -- Stella Duffy, author of Theodora

'What a wonderful writer. Matilda Leyser's work is precise, poetic, hard-edged, rhythmical. It seethes with life, and feels both ancient and brand new.' -- David Almond, author of Skellig

'This novel did all of the things that I wish mythic reimaginings would do ... This one is heartily recommended. It's masterfully constructed, moving, and strange in all the right ways. It's carefully and poetically written ... There are very few writers who have succeeded in bringing an ancient myth into the contemporary world with such profound resonance for the issues which concern us. Matilda Leyser is one of them, and I'm very much looking forward to what she might do next.' -- Sharon Blackie from The Art of Enchantment

'Matilda Leyser's mythic characters are gods and humans all at once; her tale of love and destruction is fuelled by ancient power and rich with contemporary resonance. And what beautiful writing! This striking novel conjures our deepest emotions - our feelings for each other, for the imperilled planet that is our only home. No Season but the Summer is a memorable debut.' -- Erica Wagner, author of Mary and Mr Eliot

'As you climb to earth with Persephone, you know you are in good hands. Leyser has an uncanny ability to make the mythic intimate and the timeless timely. She takes an ancient tale of goddesses and furious wrongs and fashions it into a passionate contemporary story that will resonate with mothers and daughters everywhere. Oh - and she writes like an angel. Her prose at once precise and lush, you can taste and smell and touch every bit of her thrilling, sensuous world. No Season but the Summer is an everyday epic with an invitation to ride.' -- Nicky Singer, author of The Survival Game

'Artfully transporting classic myth to the present, this is the tale of Persephone, of the stories behind why our seasons change, and "how climate change is stretching and breaking the rules that have long kept the natural world in rhythm".' * The Bookseller *

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