GRANTA BEST OF YOUNG BRITISH NOVELISTS
From the Booker Prize-nominated author of The Water Cure comes a chilling new feminist fable based on the true story of an unsolved mystery . . .
'A shimmering fever-dream of a novel' Telegraph
Spring, 1951. Four people meet in a small French town: the baker and his wife; the ambassador and his wife. Two belong to the town, two are outsiders.
Some time later, strange things start happening. Horses drop dead in the fields. Children grow wild and unbiddable. Ghosts are sighted after dark. Someone is playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse – but who is the predator and who their prey?
Audacious and mesmerizing, Cursed Bread is a darkly erotic mystery about a town gripped by madness, envy like poison in the blood, and desire that burns and consumes.
'A dreamy sapphic romp' The Times
'Gauzy [and] gripping, a quietly rich maturation of Mackintosh's skill' Guardian
The Spectator Book of the Year 2023
A shimmering fever-dream of a novel, teasing the reader [..] while finding a fresh narrative framework for the relationship between monotonous small-town life and repressed female desire. Cursed Bread contains more riches than many a novel twice its length * Telegraph *
A quietly rich maturation of Mackintosh's skill... This is a book about the power desire and greed exert over reality and memory... Mackintosh has entered a brilliant new stage of writing * Guardian *
Nimble, terrifying... Mackintosh is a wonderful prose stylist and she uses many of the resources that served her well in her Booker prize-nominated debut, The Water Cure: the slow unravelling of sanity, the isolated and mysterious setting, that feeling of panting, crawling, unfulfilled desire... A dreamy sapphic romp * The Times *
Remarkable,sensuous, thrillingly written . . . Mackintosh's evocation of desire is so tangible that you can smell the aroma of illicit sex * Observer *
A richly atmospheric tale of greed, desire and vainglorious ambition, the plot centres around Elodie, wife of the village baker, who projects the wants and desires from her own unfulfilling marriage onto the arrival of two glamorous newcomers to the village... Shimmering with an almost hallucinatory quality throughout, closing its pages at The End feels like waking up from a fever dream. Fascinating. * Marie Claire *
A sun-scorched fever dream . . . Mackintosh's top-notch phrasemaking and knack for forming uncanny images generate a baleful atmosphere of lust and dread in this splendidly peculiar tale * Daily Mail *
Sensual, luminous, transcendent... This tale of obsession, desire and betrayal has a timeless, dreamlike quality. It confirms Mackintosh as one of our finest young writers * The Bookseller, Editor's Choice *
As in her previous novels, Mackintosh's prose is eerie but minimalist - dreamlike yet grounded. Her style elevates plot to the status of fable or allegory without resorting to straightforward metaphor. This a story shrouded in mist, thick with meaning * New Statesman *
This novel is a masterclass in observation, of fracturing personalities but also in its tight and nuanced portrait of the rituals and minutiae of small-town life. Afterwards, you'll want to devour it all over again * Independent *
Mackintosh's dark imagination and precision as a prose stylist combine to devastating effect, as unsettling as it is unpredictable * Financial Times *
Sensual, brilliant... This strange fable takes place in a 20th-century French village (and, remarkably, is based on a true story). It is the sort of tale that you will want to sneak a chapter of at the dinner table before food is served. The book details the progress of a maddening, hot summer... Be warned: you will never look at a boulangerie in the same way again * Daily Telegraph (Summer Reads) *
A thrilling and subversive fable * i-D *
Distinctive, cool, sparse... An eerie ambiguity fills Cursed Bread * i *
Intoxicating, sumptuous and savage, Cursed Bread has a gothic sensibility that is entirely original. In Mackintosh's hands, the strange, compulsive machinations of desire become luminous and ghastly all at once -- Alexandra Kleeman, author of 'You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine'
Sensuous and haunted, like Madame Bovary reworked as a ghost story - an incredible book about desire, pleasure, beauty. Sophie's fiction always has a gauzy quality, filled with strange, languid images, which rise to a narrative crescendo like clues in a detective novel. She makes it look effortless -- Jo Hamya, author of 'Three Rooms'
Cursed Bread floored me on the first page and didn't let up for the rest of the journey. It always feels like a true privilege to spend time with Sophie Mackintosh's brilliant mind and she is only getting better and weirder and wilder. A knockout -- Megan Nolan, author of 'Acts of Desperation'
Macabre and sensuous... [It] packs a punch * Mail on Sunday *
Her writing is so sleek, the characters mysterious and yet indelible - a taut, seductive, thrilling gem of a novel -- Olivia Sudjic, author of 'Asylum Road'
Sophie Mackintosh takes a true story and asks what any of us really know about what is true? Our desires poison us. Shame and longing intertwine. We hide even from ourselves... This novel is subtle and devouring; reading it is like being slowly swallowed by the night -- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of 'Starling Days'
Vivid and shocking, written with stunning, incantatory prose,Cursed Bread is the kind of book that upends your nervous system -- Julia May Jonas , author of Vladimir
Bloody, sexy, sinister, strange. This book will take hold of you -- Saba Sams, author of 'Send Nudes'
Everything Sophie Mackintosh is so febrile and tactile, when you read her books you feel as if you live in them. The world felt so eerie after finishing Cursed Bread. I didn't feel quite the same as I was before, but in the best way -- Annie Lord, author of 'Notes on Heartbreak'
A story of love, lust and appetite . . . a book I haven’t been able to stop thinking about * The Spectator 'Best Books of 2023' *
Pristine, visceral & wild. She's a master. You won't be disappointed -- Sarah Rose Etter, author of 'The Book of X'
Gorgeously atmospheric and feverishly compulsive [on] amorphous longings and desires, and the hot shame of wanting more than you deserve -- Lara Williams, author of 'Supper Club'
Sophie Mackintosh has given her strange and intriguing imagination the opportunity to flourish. There is tension on every page * Prospect *
A thrilling and feverish fable of secret desire * Monocle *
Dimensions: 198mm x 129mm x 12mm