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Bleaker House

Chasing My Novel to the End of the World

3.46 based on 453 ratings & 111 reviews on Goodreads.com

Synopsis

'My favourite debut of 2017 . . . as funny as it is poignant' Lena Dunham

When Nell Stevens was given the opportunity to spend three months in a location of her choice in order to write her novel, she was determined to rid herself of all distractions. So Nell decided to travel to Bleaker Island (official population: two) in the Falklands where she would write 2,500 words a day.

But Bleaker House is not that novel. Instead this is a book about a young woman realizing that the way to writing fiction doesn't necessarily lie in total solitude and a clear plan. Nor does it lie in a daily ration of 1085 calories, no means of contacting the outside world and a slow descent towards something that feels worryingly like madness . . .

Hilariously funny, painfully honest, and beautifully observed, Bleaker House is part memoir, part travelogue, part story collection. It is an exploration of the narrow spaces between real life and fiction and, in the end, a book about failing to write a novel, but finally becoming a writer.

In the media

Quirky . . . fascinating . . . she may not have written the novel of her dreams, but the book she has produced will resonate with anyone who has shared her ambitions [to write].
Daily Mail
Stevens writes with considerable charm and winning honesty
Guardian
This year's literary sensation . . . summer's must-read . . . an often very entertaining book about failing to write a book . . . what makes it most like something Dunham might have conceived is the comic skill with which Stevens deftly builds up a portrait of herself as the flawed but loveably self-deluding heroine of her own pyrrhic publishing scheme. This is a picaresque, recognisably human tale of a young woman’s failure to follow through on the glaringly unrealistic goals she set herself.
Evening Standard
Listen to an audio extract, read by Nell Stevens.