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The Well

LONGLISTED FOR THE CWA JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER AN OBSERVER NEW FACE OF FICTION 2015 A HUFFINGTON POST 'ONE TO WATCH IN 2015' NAMED AN INDEPENDENT '10 BEST SUMMER READS' 'I was gripped by Catherine Chanter's The Well immediately. The beauty of her prose is riveting, the imagery so assured. This is an astonishing debut' Sarah Winman, author of When God was a Rabbit 'I loved this book!' JESSIE BURTON, author of The Miniaturist 'One summer was all it took before our dream started to curl at the edges and stain like picked primroses. One night is enough to swallow a lifetime of lives.' When Ruth Ardingly and her family first drive up from London in their grime-encrusted car and view The Well, they are enchanted by a jewel of a place, a farm that appears to offer everything the family are searching for. An opportunity for Ruth. An escape for Mark. A home for their grandson Lucien. But The Well's unique glory comes at a terrible price. The locals suspect foul play in its verdant fields and drooping fruit trees, and Ruth becomes increasingly isolated as she struggles to explain why her land flourishes whilst her neighbours' produce withers and dies. Fearful of envious locals and suspicious of those who seem to be offering help, Ruth is less and less sure who she can trust. As The Well envelops them, Ruth's paradise becomes a prison, Mark's dream a recurring nightmare, and Lucien's playground a grave.
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Sometimes the very thing you wish for is the worst thing that can happen ...

About the Author

Catherine Chanter was born and raised in the West Country. She has written for Radio Four and has had short stories and poetry published in a wide range of anthologies and publications. She won the Yeovil Poetry Prize in 2010. Catherine has a Masters, with distinction, in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. The Well is her first novel, won the 2013 Lucy Cavendish Prize for Unpublished Fiction and has been longlisted for the 2015 CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger.


I was gripped by Catherine Chanter's The Well immediately. The beauty of her prose is riveting, the imagery so assured. This is an astonishing debut -- SARAH WINMAN * * When God Was a Rabbit * * This story ripples with mystery and intrigue from the first page * * Daily Mail * * A markedly assured new voice . . . a novel of increasing psychological suspense . . . its story and narrative will put many readers under a deliciously shivery spell * * Sunday Telegraph * * A literary page-turner * * Independent * * This accomplished debut is both a futuristic evocation of a Big Brother society and an Ibsenite fable of humans faced with limited resources * * Observer * * A haunting novel about ordinary people confronted by extraordinary situations * * Elle * * I loved this book! -- JESSIE BURTON * * author of THE MINIATURIST * * There is undeniable power - both of ideas and execution - here. Fans of the once-upon-a-time, read on * * Guardian * * The Well has the pulse of a thriller combined with a futuristic evocation of a Big Brother society and an Ibsenite fable of humans faced with limited resources. It is so astoundingly assured that I wondered if A. S. Byatt had adopted a pseudonym -- ALLISON PEARSON This dystopian fairytale tells the story of Ruth Ardingly and her family during the summer following their purchase of The Well, an unexplainable haven of rainfall within a country that has all but dried up. An apocalyptic tale for our times * * Independent, 10 Best Summer Reads * * The Well is Ruth's narrative, a patchwork of memories too painful to forget and those too painful to remember. It is a curious mixture of a story being told, a personal history being recalled, and a reminder being related to a close friend, or even to oneself . . . How could you accurately summarise this book? I've written well over a thousand words and still don't feel I've captured it at all . . . but I couldn't get enough of it. I'll be keeping an eye out for it (and urging everyone to try it) when it's published in March. The Well is comparable to lots of other books in various small ways, but ultimately stands on its own as something totally unique. It confounds expectations and is a stunning debut. 10/10 * * Learn This Phrase blog, 10/10 * * This book is extraordinary . . . intoxicating . . . This is proper feminist post-apocalyptic fiction for those who are still missing Station 11 -- Alexandra Heminsley * * The Debrief * * Superb: frighteningly assured, its themes are deftly tied together and it manages to maintain real suspense . . . Its treatment of grief and anger - at a world dying, at the vicious dissolution of a marriage - and of the fear of one's own inner darkness is so realistically drawn that it would threaten to overwhelm without the focus that Chanter bring * * Skinny * * The Well perfectly balances the cross-genre tightrope of an unsettling dark thriller with a dystopian setting * * Dulwich Books Review * * Compelling . . . lyrical . . . it is the emotional drama which hooks the reader in this beautifully written fable for a modern age * * We Love This Book * * A haunting, beautifully written, and utterly believable novel that probes the fragility of our personal relationships and the mystical connection between people and the places they call home * * OMG That Book * *

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