Fen: Stories (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

The stories in this debut collection are united by their unique setting: the titular marshlands of rural England. Johnson imbues many of these tales with magic, fantasy, and horror, but this is not genre writing. The fuel for her stories are her fully inhabited and deeply felt characters and their struggles with family, identity, love, small town blues, and, occasionally, the need to feed on human blood. This is a sad, weird, sweet, sharp, and finely rendered collection from a very promising young writer.

— Michael

May 2017 Indie Next List

“This collection of stories scrambled my brain, in the best possible sense. They made me reread, wonder, turn the book upside down and shake it a bit to see what other fantastical imaginings would fall out. Girls turn into eels and men into foxes, a house is obsessed with a woman, and a bloodsucking girl gang preys on Internet dates. A few stories broke my heart, too. Johnson has a way of manifesting loneliness and loss into physical pain and malady that shocks the senses. Startling, unusual, and sneakily profound, Fen is an unforgettable collection.”
— Stefanie Kiper Schmidt, Water Street Books, Exeter, NH


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 the Author

Daisy Johnson was born in 1990. Her short fiction has appeared in the Boston Review and The Warwick Review, among other publications. She was the recipient of the 2014 A.M. Heath Prize, and currently lives in Oxford, England.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781555977740
ISBN-10: 155597774X
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Pages: 208
Language: English