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The Last Sane Woman

Hannah Regel author


Publisher:Verso Books

Published:2nd Jul '24

Should be back in stock very soon

The Last Sane Woman cover

A beguiling debut novel about friendship and failure.

Nicola Long is a few years out of a fine arts degree, listless and unenthusiastically employed in London. She begins to spend her hours at a small underfunded archive dedicated to women's art. There she discovers one side of a correspondence beginning in 1976 and spanning a dozen years, written from one woman - a ceramics graduate, uncannily like Nicola - to a friend living a contrasting and conventionally moored life. As Nicola reads on, an acute sense of affinity turns into obsession.

She abandons one job after another to make time for the archive. The litany of coincidences in the letters becomes uncanny, and Nicola's feeling of ownership begets a growing dread: should she be afraid of where these letters are leading?

Disquieting and gorgeous, The Last Sane Woman plucks images from the world with the claustrophobic pleasure of picking a scab. It reaches deep into the negative spaces of failure and precarity, and from these resources assembles something caustic, elegant, elusive and foreboding. It's also funny, with an offbeat, sly lightness that comes from knowing exactly how high the odds are stacked against you. I was hooked by the conversation between Regel's protagonists, looping across generations to give voice to the pains of making and the shameful pleasures of destruction. -- Daisy LaFarge, author of Life without Air and Paul
The Last Sane Woman is a brilliant, slyly funny, and acutely observed meditation on the process both of the making of objects and of one's own life. Regel's prose is gorgeous and deftly rendered on every page. -- Sophie Mackintosh, author of The Water Cure
In Regel's alluring debut novel a London art school graduate takes a job at a feminist archive and stumbles on a mystery buried in the collection ... a distinctive story of female friendship. * Publishers Weekly *
Regel started out as a poet before turning to fiction, and the sharp aesthetic sense and ability to hold and distil a moment ... are present here, too. -- Holly Connolly * AnOther Magazine *
Regel offers an unnerving and playfully pithy world, one in which dread is almost a fetish, tragedy an aesthetic, failure a form of entertainment. -- Kate Simpson * Telegraph *
Regel understands the fine line between success and failure, the difficulties of producing meaningful art in a fickle world, and her book is a sensitive meditation on creativity and disconnection. -- Lucy Popescu * Observer *
The Last Sane Woman is an evocative, aching riff on the epistolary tradition -- Rachel Vorona Cote * The Washington Post *
In Regel's case, her poetry as well as her fiction gives the sensation of the author winking at you from behind the page -- Zsófia Paulikovics * Interview Magazine *
Jaunty, warm and always sensitive...[Regel is] an author who can handle delicate subjects with assurance and charm. -- Magnus Rena * Literary Review *
Moving, lyrical -- Martin Chilton * Independent *

ISBN: 9781804295373

Dimensions: 198mm x 129mm x 16mm

Weight: 200g

240 pages