Set in the nineties, just at the dawn of email, this is a soulful and funny semi-autobiographical story of Selin, a Turkish American linguistics and literature student in her first year at university, navigating the perplexities of adulthood through language and its pitfalls to connection. As Selin befriends Svetlana, a and obsesses over Ivan, an older Hungarian student in her Russian class, they exchange emails and the gap between an email relationship and a real-life relationship is brilliantly described, as is the baffling gap between reality and expectation as a person forges their selfhood.
A dark, funny and clever novel about being a woman in contemporary society. Mary is estranged from her parents, broke and suffering from chronic pain. She signs up for a well-paid job of being the 'emotional girlfriend' to a famous actor alongside a cast of other girlfriends to suit his different needs and a team of researchers behind the scenes who feed her lines. As Mary and the other girls play out their roles, the experiment begins to unravel as connections form and all is not what it seems. An exploration of intimacy, the concept of emotional labour and the many ways in which women can subtly be subjugated.
Published by Granta on June 8th 2017
We’re thrilled to introduce new author and Hackney resident Kate Murray-Browne to Pages to discuss her debut novel, The Upstairs Room. The discussion will be chaired by Sarah Savitt, publisher at Virago.
Eleanor, Richard and their two young daughters recently stretched themselves to the limit to buy their dream home, a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in East London. But the cracks are already starting to show. Eleanor is unnerved by the eerie atmosphere in the house and becomes convinced it is making her ill. Whilst Richard remains preoccupied with Zoe, their mercurial twenty-seven-year-old lodger, Eleanor becomes determined to unravel the mystery of the house’s previous owners – including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.
Kate Murray-Browne was born and lives in London. She studied English at Cambridge University and worked in publishing for ten years, previously at Faber & Faber, before becoming a freelance editor. She is also a visual artist and has exhibited work in a number of different galleries. The Upstairs Room is her first novel.
Sarah Savitt is currently Deputy Publisher at Virago and previously worked at Headline, Faber and David Godwin Associates. Authors she has published include Kate Hamer, Louise Doughty, Sara Pascoe, Karen Rose and Hanif Kureishi.
“A very impressive debut. The story is played out in an unsettling narrative that makes you want to read on to the end.”
“An incredible read. Clever, chilling, I couldn’t put it down”
Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble With Goats and Sheep.
“A gripping and impressive story of mounting terror. Spellbinding”
“The Upstairs Room is the real thing. Frightening and clever and full of atmosphere.”
Susan Hill, author of The Woman In Black