Amanda Craig's transportive debut, Foreign Bodies, is a detective story, romance, and coming-of-age classic.
At eighteen, Emma Kenward runs away from her dull Sloane home to try her luck as a painter in Tuscany. Waspish, idealistic and far too clever for her own good, she is at the awkward age when women choose their futures - and their identities.
Once in Italy, Emma blossoms and is taken up by a a mixture of characters including the local Contessa; Sylvia, her volatile American mentor; Dr Evenlode, an Oxford don she'd hoped never to see again; and Lucio, a seductive and anarchic young Italian, as interested in Emma's body as in her mind. Santorno, however, is not merely a picturesque town set in the golden landscape of the Tuscan countryside. Hidden among the malicious tongues of the provincial gossips and the walls of the mysterious Palazzo Felici lie secrets, long buried, but not forgotten. Emma, ever curious, delves deep and discovers the truth about her new world, her old self - and a gruesome murder.
Lurid events are woven into a sensitive tale, a high-wire act between literature and froth - Today
Exciting...enchanting...life-enhancing first novel - Publishing News
Interesting ideas and a witty talent for perceptive characterisation - Time Out
A wonderfully snotty heroine...Vim and vitriol - Independent on Sunday
An accomplished and compulsively readable comedy of manners - Cosmopolitan
Amanda Craig is a British novelist, short-story writer and critic. Born in South Africa in 1959, she grew up in Italy, where her parents worked for the UN, and was educated at Bedales School and Clare College Cambridge.
After a brief time in advertising and PR, she became a journalist for newspapers such as the Sunday Times, Observer, Daily Telegraph and Independent, winning both the Young Journalist of the Year and the Catherine Pakenham Award. She was the children's critic for the Independent on Sunday and The Times. She still reviews children's books for the New Statesman, and literary fiction for the Observer, but is mostly a full-time novelist. Her novel Hearts and Minds was longlisted for the Bailey's Prize for Women's Fiction, and The Lie of the Land was chosen as a book of the year by the Guardian, Observer, Telegraph, New Statesman, Evening Standard, Sunday Times and Irish Times. Her latest novel, The Golden Rule was longlisted for the Women's Prize 2021.