As a regular commuter, our Literature Development Officer, likes to have a book in her bag at all times – hey books are her bag.
A particular favourite reading companion at present is the short form and novellas. Novellas are a popular choice at the moment and its not difficult to see why. This form of writing offers the readers a multitude of reading experience in a relatively short space. From the ability to read a novella in one sitting, to providing access to microcosmic, intense moments and characters they are a real pleasure to read. When we were offered the chance to read Travelling in the Dark, the debut novella by Emma Timpany, we simply couldn’t resist.
We have long been fans of Timpany’s work from her short story collection The Lost of Syros to her recent work as co-editor and contributor to Cornish Shorts and Travelling in the Dark, part of the Fairlight Moderns series delivers once again. Continuing in the style which we have now come to recognise as uniquely TImpany, this novella presents wonderfully lyrical and utterly mesmeric prose.
In its 180 pages, Travelling in the Dark weaves an un-putdownable story which presents a complex and intriguing protagonist embarking on a journey. One of the highlights for us was the duality of the journey – it is both literal and metaphorical making it deeply impactful. As a regional agency, we love literature that celebrates place and this novella certainly does that. The landscapes and places of this story are rich, alive and turbulent: the perfect backdrop for the emotional turmoil and turbulence which the protagonist Sarah experiences. Symbolic imagery and masterful metaphors are employed with a subtlety that is characteristic of Timpany’s work and which makes the novella arresting and compelling.
There is much to provoke thought here. From an urge to write as Timpany does to deeper considerations of the novellas central concerns. Travelling in the Dark is an intense rumination on the nature of time and memory and how the ripples of these can be felt throughout decades. A stellar achievement, we thoroughly recommend this novella.
Travelling in the Dark is available now, published by Fairlights Books as part of their Fairlight Moderns series.