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Crustaceans

Andrew Cowan

7 Reviews

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Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

The haunting third novel from the award-winning author of PIG and COMMON GROUND, now in eBook

It is December 22nd, a foot of snow has fallen, and Paul is heading out for a small coastal resort on his son Euan's sixth birthday. Shall I tell you a story? he says and recalls the boy's birth, his first words and steps, all the stuff of forgetting, of any boy's life...


But nothing, Paul has decided, should ever be lost or discarded or buried, as it was in his own childhood. And so he confides the history of his relationship with Ruth, Euan's mother; the death of his own mother when he himself was a boy; and his father's refusal ever to explain what occurred. It soon becomes evident, however, that Euan is not in the car. Evident, too, that Paul is living alone, and that in the cliffs and dunes of the seaside resort lies the key to his story's conclusion.

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Praise for Crustaceans

  • 'This spare, yet beautiful novel is an intense meditation on isolation and the fragility of love ... The emotional fluency of Cowan's writing is compelling, and the narrator's search for answers to his psychological collapse also becomes the quest of the reader ... Crustaceans is so well crafted that the catharsis of the well-rounded ending at the seaside made this reviewer cry.' Observer

  • A story written with much delicacy and the quality of the writing is superb. A truly heart-rending tale by a master craftsman - Publishing News

  • 'Crustaceans is an elegantly written exploration of grief that unwinds its secrets slowly, achingly and inexorably until the bitter conclusion.' James Eve, The Times

  • The emotional fluency of Cowan's writing is compelling - Observer

  • 'Cowan's portrayal of a father's grief is heart-wrenchingly real, and is enhanced by his ability to bring background characters and events to life. Sketched in a few sure strokes, the hunched teenagers in Puffa jackets, bored in a playground, a small child's stubborness, trust and concentration, and the abandoned feel of an out-of-season cafe, all spring vividly from the page.' Pam Barrett, Sunday Times

  • An elegantly written exploration of grief - James Eve, The Times

  • Cowan's portrayal of a father's grief is heart-wrenchingly real - Pam Barrett, Sunday Times

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Andrew Cowan

Andrew Cowan was born in Corby and educated at the University of East Anglia. Pig, his first novel, won The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, a Betty Trask Award, the Ruth Hadden Memorial Prize, the Author's Club First Novel Award and a Scottish Council Book Award. He is also the author of the writing guidebook The Art of Writing and three other novels: Common Ground, Crustaceans and What I Know. He is the Director of the Creative Writing programme at UEA.

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