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Private Rites - Julia Armfield

Private Rites

By: Julia Armfield

Paperback | 19 June 2024

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From the bestselling author of Our Wives Under the Sea, a haunting novel of three sisters navigating queer love and faith at the end of the world.

There’s no way to bury a body in earth which is flooded

It is a fact consigned to history along with almost everything else


It’s been raining for a long time now, for so long that the lands have reshaped themselves. Old places have been lost. Arcane rituals and religions have crept back into practice.

Sisters Isla, Irene and Agnes have not spoken in some time when their estranged father dies. A famous architect revered for making the new world navigable, he had long cut himself off from public life. They find themselves uncertain of how to grieve his passing when everything around them seems to be ending anyway.

As the sisters come together to clear the grand glass house that is the pinnacle of his legacy, they begin to sense that the magnetic influence of their father lives on through it. Something sinister seems to be unfolding, something related to their mother’s long-ago disappearance and the strangers who have always been unusually interested in their lives. Soon, it becomes clear that the sisters have been chosen for a very particular purpose, one with shattering implications for their family and their imperilled world.

About the Author

Julia Armfield was born in London in 1990. She is a fiction writer and occasional playwright with a Masters in Victorian Art and Literature from Royal Holloway University. She was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 2019. She was commended in the Moth Short Story Prize 2017, longlisted for the Deborah Rogers Award 2018, and won the White Review Short Story Prize 2018. Her first book, salt slow is a collection of short stories about bodies and the bodily, mapping the skin and bones of its characters through their experiences of isolation, obsession and love. She won the Pushcart Prize in 2020.
Industry Reviews
'Stunning' - DAZED

'Her prose sparkles' - ELIZA CLARK

'A book of extraordinary sentences' - MEGAN HUNTER

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