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Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781844088379

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‘Tragic, comic and completely bonkers all in one, I’d go as far as to call her something of a neglected genius’ LUCY SCHOLES, GUARDIAN

‘It is hard not to believe that Barbara Comyns’s own adventures are entangled in her fiction’ JANE GARDAM, SPECTATOR

‘All of her books read as if she wrote them effortlessly’ URSULA HOLDEN

On the banks of the River Avon, five sisters are born. The seasons come and go, the girls take their lessons under the ash tree and there is always the sound of water swirling through the weir. Then, unexpectedly, an air of decay descends upon the house: ivy grows unchecked over the windows, angry shouts split the summer air, the milk sours in the larder and their father takes out his gun. Tragedy strikes the family, and before long the furniture is being auctioned off and the sisters dispersed among relatives. In her daring first novel, originally published in 1947, Barbara Comyns’ unique young heroine relates the vivid, funny and bittersweet story of a childhood.

Reviews

Quite simply, Comyns' writes like no one else
Maggie O'Farrell
It is hard not to believe that Barbara Comyns's own adventures are entangled in her fiction. Sisters by a River, which she wrote for her own children
Jane Gardam, Spectator
Tragic, comic and completely bonkers all in one, I'd go as far as to call her something of a neglected genius
Lucy Scholes, Guardian
A vision that shifts between savagery, lyricism and tragic wit. A true original
Independent