Amy Arnold

Slip of a Fish

Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize  2019

Winner of the 2018 Northern Book Prize

Ash collects words, climbs trees and swims in a deserted lake with her beloved seven-year-old, Charlie. Bemused by everyday life, she has a rich and singular interior world. Over the course of a relentlessly hot summer, Charlie begins to pull away, and in a desperate attempt to reconnect with her daughter Ash does something unforgivable. As the gulf between them grows, Ash’s life begins to slip out of her hold.

Winner of the 2018 Northern Book Prize, Slip of a Fish is a joyously artful and quietly devastating portrait of motherhood, loss and love, in all its kaleidoscopic complexity.

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More Info

  • Winner of the 2018 Northern Book Prize
  • As part of the Read Regional campaign, Amy will be discussing her debut novel, Slip of a Fish, on a number of dates starting at Pontefract Library on 13th May. You can find more information here.
Print status: Available
Author: Amy Arnold
Original language: English
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date (UK): 1 November 2018
Publication date (US): 2 July 2019
ISBN: 9781911508526
Ebook ISBN: 9781911508533
Availability: World
Number of pages: 256


Chris Power
New Statesman

'Slip of a Fish commits itself absolutely to portraying a troubled state characterised by obsessive involution . . . the fact that [it renounces] the traditional pleasures of narrative is a marker of [its] achievement.'

Will Smith
Cumbria Life

A beautiful, complex, enticing work of literary fiction, at its capacious heart Amy Arnold’s book is an evasive delight.'

Yvette Huddleston
Yorkshire Post

'Dazzling in its originality and courageous in its form and content, the writing is experimental in the sense that it tests the reader's expectations and preconceptions. The rewards are many.'

C D Rose
Times Literary Supplement

‘With the coiled compactness and intensity of a short story, Slip of a Fish is a strange and original novel.’

Stevie Davies
The Guardian

'Original, ambitious and challenging'

Rebecca Watson
White Review

‘Arnold’s impressive debut is strange and dexterous ... [she] has an ability to capture on the page a complex, obsessive mind without veering into pretention or convolution.’

Sarah Gilmartin
Irish Times

‘[An] absorbing' debut…an impressive portrait of motherhood, loss and fragility.'

Clare Mulley
The Skinny

‘…Few novels achieve the delicate shimmer Arnold's poetic prose evokes in the mind – a cool-warm, unsettling and very beautiful new voice.’

Emma Yates-Badley
Northern Soul

‘A fascinating portrait of motherhood, tackling themes of identity and love and loss, but makes no grand assumptions or assertions… a beautifully written novel, almost lyric in its cadence.’

Anna Caig
Sheffield Telegraph

‘At its heart Slip of a Fish is a novel about the passage of time .. Nothing makes us face up [to time] more vividly than our growing children.’

Kirsty Gunn

'How many writers really attend to the quality of sentences when they make their fiction? To the heft and jiggle of words on a line? To the texture of phrasing, the fillip of some unexpected syntax or the steady rounds of sound? Not many. But here's one who does. '

Helen Mort

'A rich, linguistically dextrous portrait of how our inner and outer worlds collide. Slip of a Fish is a startling and inventive debut.'

Claire Malcolm, Ian McMillan, Conor O’Callaghan, Tara Tobler
Northern Book Prize Judges' Praise

‘A fearless test of empathy, a tender sounding of a mind long since overgrown, and a disturbingly sensual work with a prose that skitters, sinks, hooks, pulls, resists, and flips high in gorgeous blinding flashes, Slip of a Fish heralds the arrival of a stunning new voice in English fiction.’