Joanna Walsh


This is a woman as a mother, daughter, wife, spectator, lover, mistress. Observer and commentator. Actor and reactor. Dressed up bright as a child or submerged in the grey elegance of Paris, she shifts readily between roles, countries, and languages. Skilled and successful, she controls how much she cares.

Yet as every new woman emerges and every new story is told, each with a sharper, more deadpan, more aching simplicity, the calm surfaces of Joanna Walsh’s Vertigo shatter, pulling us deep into the panic that underlies everyday life.

Read an Excerpt
EBook: £5

More Info

Print status: Available
Author: Joanna Walsh
Original language: English
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 3 March 2016
ISBN: 9781908276803
Ebook ISBN: 9781908276810
Availability: UK, Europe and Commonwealth (excl. Canada)
Number of pages: 128


Chris Kraus

‘Joanna Walsh’s haunting and unforgettable stories enact a literal vertigo by probing the spaces between things . . . Her narrator approaches the suppressed state of panic coursing beneath things that are normally tamed by our blunted perceptions of ordinary life. Vertigo is an original and breathtaking book.’

Alex Preston
The Guardian

‘Profoundly affecting.’ Alex Preston, Best Books of 2016

Claire Kohda Hazelton
The Guardian

‘Beautifully simple and unembellished, Walsh’s writing – most captivating in its ability to unnerve – is cleverly revealing of her protagonist’s unique and sensitive personality.’

Cathy Rentzenbrink

‘This beautifully wrought collection of stories made me think of tiny French cakes laid out in a patisserie: some tart, some sweet, some with a hidden centre, all beautifully constructed and each one exactly its own thing.’

Sarah Ditum
New Statesman

Vertigo is artful, intelligent . . . Walsh is a sublimely elegant writer.’

Steph Cha
Los Angeles Times

‘Think Renata Adler’s Speedboat with a faster engine . . .  Vertigo reads with the exhilarating speed and concentrated force of a poetry collection. Each word seems carefully weighed and prodded for sound, taste, touch . . . The stories are delicate, but they leave a strong impression, a lasting sense of detachment colliding with feeling, a heady destabilization.’

Heidi Julavits
The New York Times

‘Her stories reveal a psychological landscape lightly spooked by loneliness, jealousy and alienation.’

Maddie Crum
Huffington Post

Vertigo is a funny, absurd collection of stories.’

Jonathon Sturgeon

‘Her writing sways between the tense and the absurd, as if it’s hovering between this world and another . . . Vertigo may redistribute the possibilities of contemporary fiction, especially if it meets with the wider audience her work demands.’


‘Less a collection of linked short stories – though it is that, too – than a cinematic montage, a collection of photographs, or a series of sketches, Walsh’s book would be dreamlike if it weren’t so deliciously sharp . . . With wry humour and profound sensitivity, Walsh takes what is mundane and transforms it into something otherworldly with sentences that can make your heart stop. A feat of language.’

Darcie Dennigan
The Rumpus

‘If anyone in the course of reviewing Vertigo refers to Joanna Walsh as a “woman writer” or says the book is about women, relationships, or mothering, I will send an avenging batibat to infiltrate his dreams because that would be like saying Waiting for Godot is about a bromance . . . No, this book is about how embarrassing it is to be alive, how each of us is continually barred from our self . . . Vertigo is a writer’s coup, an overthrow of everyday language . . . It feels so good to see Walsh jam open the lexicon – and with such dry wit . . . No one else has her particular copy of the dictionary.’