Anbara Salam’s glittering debut THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL has been hotly anticipated, featured in numerous ‘Best of’ lists for 2018 including Stylist, Scottish Book Trust, Bookriot and The Upcoming, and now the wait is finally over: the captivatingly mysterious tale is published today by Fig Tree in hardback! It’s a novel that will easily ensnare your imagination. MOON TIGER author Penelope Lively called it, ‘A vivid account of both a place and a situation. The island setting and the rainforest are compellingly evoked, along with the claustrophobic backdrop of religious mania and a dysfunctional marriage - an impressive debut.’
Anbara will be on Woman’s Hour tomorrow morning speaking about the book, and will also be taking part in an event for Lush Book Club on 7th June with Sophie Mackintosh. You can also read more about the book and Anbara's writing process on the Foyle's blog.
Audio rights for THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL have been sold to WF Howes. French rights have also been sold to Calmann-Levy.
When Bea Hanlon follows her preacher husband Max to a remote island in the Pacific, she soon sees that their mission will bring anything but salvation. For Advent Island is a place beyond the reaches of even her most fitful imaginings. It's not just the rats and the hordes of mosquitos and the weevils in the powdered milk. Past the confines of their stuffy little house, amidst the damp and the dust and the sweltering heat, rumours are spreading of devil chasers who roam the island on the hunt for evil spirits. And then there are the noises from the church at night.
Yet, to the amusement of the locals and the bafflement of her husband, Bea gradually adapts to life on the island. But with the dreadful events heralded by the arrival of an unexpected, wildly irritating and always-humming house guest, Advent Island becomes a hostile place once again. And before long, trapped in the jungle and in the growing fever of her husband's insanity, Bea finds herself fighting for her freedom, and for her life.
Anbara is half-Palestinian, half-Scottish, and grew up in London. After studying in Beirut and York, she graduated from Oxford with a PhD in Theology in 2014. She lives in Oxford with her partner where she works as an academic. THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL is her first novel.
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Praise for THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL:
‘Very dark and mysterious and beguiling… beautifully written. It’s just transported me to a different world every night.’ — Dolly Alderton, author of EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE
'This book is so rich in detail, the rainforest so immersive, and the characters so wonderfully odd, that I was sucked into its dark beating heart and wasn't spat out until I'd turned the final page... I found Bea such an intriguing character - wily, and clever, but also an innocent, just trying to survive in extraordinary circumstances. I was also completely captivated by Salam's descriptions of the rain forest, and the houses, in fact all of the location, including the animals (and their droppings, cocoons, and larvae!) and the weather. All of it so immersive.' — Claire Fuller, author of OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS
‘A darkly comic and thrilling novel… Literal escapism.’ — Marta Bausells, Elle magazine
‘A powerful, at times unnerving, look at a marriage in crisis, belief, and survival.’ — Sarah Shaffi, Stylist, ‘April’s Best New Books’
‘This is a debut novel that promises big things for its young author. Half-Scottish, half-Palestinian Salam spent six months living on a small South Pacific Island. Out of her experiences, she’s fashioned a richly-textured, vivid tale (you can practically taste the papayas and smell the jungle).’ — Alexandra Newson, The Upcoming, ‘13 Must Read Books for 2018’