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Smothermoss - Alisa Alering

Smothermoss

By: Alisa Alering

Paperback | 24 October 2024

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Set in an isolated 1980s Appalachian community, reeling from the brutal murder of two hikers, this novel is deliciously creepy and unsettling, yet gorgeous and dreamlike in its portrayal of two impoverished girls who must come to terms with what's happening on the sentient mountain they call home and also with themselves as they stand on the cusp of adulthood. 1980s Appalachia.

Sheila knows she needs to keep her appetites in check. Isolated and struggling in ramshackle poverty, her desires - for food, for escape, for the perfect girls in the pages of her pilfered magazines - are about the only things she can control. But with every passing day, life with her exhausted mother and her half-feral younger sister Angie feels more like a rope tightening around her neck.

When a pair of hikers are brutally murdered on the trail, Sheila and Angie find themselves drawn inexorably into the hunt for the killer. The mountain they live on is ancient and powerful - and it's using them for its own ends. Sheila knows the landscape's folklore is dangerous and unpredictable, but as the ever-present threat of violence looms larger, it might be the only thing that can save her and her sister from the darkness consuming their home...

Somewhere between a rural gothic and a dark fairytale, Smothermoss beckons readers into the eerily beautiful woods of the Appalachian Mountains - as well as into a lyrical investigation of girlhood, bodies, class, desire, nature and the otherworldly. Full of the picturesque dread of an A24 horror movie, it's We Have Always Lived in the Castle meets Winter's Bone, and will appeal to fans of Sophie Mackintosh, Julia Armfield and Kelly Link.

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