Fen by Daisy Johnson

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Johnson has a marshy imagination and wind-whipped prose; the latter is an effective counterweight to the sometimes hyperbolic lore of this shape-shifting world.
-NY Times

Synopsis

A singular debut that “marks the emergence of a great, stomping, wall-knocking talent” (Kevin Barry)

Daisy Johnson’s Fen, set in the fenlands of England, transmutes the flat, uncanny landscape into a rich, brooding atmosphere. From that territory grow stories that blend folklore and restless invention to turn out something entirely new. Amid the marshy paths of the fens, a teenager might starve herself into the shape of an eel. A house might fall in love with a girl and grow jealous of her friend. A boy might return from the dead in the guise of a fox. Out beyond the confines of realism, the familiar instincts of sex and hunger blend with the shifting, unpredictable wild as the line between human and animal is effaced by myth and metamorphosis. With a fresh and utterly contemporary voice, Johnson lays bare these stories of women testing the limits of their power to create a startling work of fiction.

 

About Daisy Johnson

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Published June 2, 2016 by Vintage Digital. 208 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Fen
All: 3 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 3

Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Malcolm Forbes on May 19 2017

Only Johnson's final three tales, which make up a section of their own, disappoint...Otherwise, "Fen" is a potent, sometimes riotous blend of convention and invention...

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Hermione Hoby on May 26 2017

Johnson has a marshy imagination and wind-whipped prose; the latter is an effective counterweight to the sometimes hyperbolic lore of this shape-shifting world.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Sarah Crown on Jun 18 2016

The collection isn’t always at its best, of course; the all-female cast list seemed to feel a little undifferentiated by the end, and there were moments when the language seemed not so much uninflected as flat. But for atmosphere, originality and plain chutzpah, this is an impressive first collection.

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