Rachel Genn

What You Could Have Won

‘I wrote this book because I didn’t want Amy Winehouse to be dead.’

Fame is the only thing worth having. Love is temporary brain damage. Or so thinks Henry Sinclair, a failing psychiatrist, whose career-breaking discovery has been pinched by a supervisor smelling of nipple grease and hot-dog brine. An emotional miser and manipulator par excellence, desperate for the recognition he’s certain his genius deserves, Henry claws his way into the limelight by transforming his girlfriend—a singer-in-ascendance, beloved for her cathartically raw performances—into a drug experiment. As he systematically works to reinforce feelings of worthlessness while at the same time feeding off Astrid’s fame, and as Astrid collapses deeper into dependence, what emerges is a two-sided toxic relationship: the bullying instincts of a man shrunk by an industry where bullying is currency, and the peculiar strength of a star more comfortable offloading her talent than owning her brilliance.

Pinging between their apartment in New York (where they watch endless episodes of The Sopranos), a nudist campsite in Greece (where the tantalizingly handsome Gigi thwacks octopi into the sand), and a celebrity rehab facility in Paris (founded by the cassock-wearing and sex-scandal plagued ‘artist’ Hypno Ray), What You Could Have Won is a relationship born of regrettable events, and a novel about female resilience in the face of social control.

EBook: £6.99

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If you subscribe to And Other Stories by Monday 4th May 2020, you will receive your copy of What You Could Have Won – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – in August 2020, before its official publication, as well as up to five other specially selected And Other Stories titles per year. Find out about subscribing to upcoming titles here.


Print status: Upcoming
Author: Rachel Genn
Original language: English
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 6 October 2020
ISBN: 9781911508861
Ebook ISBN: 9781911508878
Availability: World English
Number of pages: 276


Praise for The Cure

‘Startlingly Tender.’ Time Out

‘Genn’s narrative voice proves unusually nimble in its ironic, sympathetic shifts between the players in this compact saga. The Cure yields a surprising tensile strength for such a slim volume.’ Herald Scotland

‘I loved The Cure. Rachel Genn offers a new and convincing take on the experience of the Irish migrant worker, evoking in exhilarating dialogue the multi-ethnic Babel of contemporary London. This is a story of family secrets, fierce male friendships and slow-burning love.’ Joe Treasure

‘The Geiger counter of Rachel Genn’s prose moves over her characters' souls with forensic precision, detecting the minute shifts and vacillations that take place below the level of consciousness - those very things that make us human.’ Kathy Towers, Seamus Heaney Centre prize winning poet