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In Search of Solace

Emily Mackie

5 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

As deadly serious as it is funny, this is a novel about identity, love, religion, memory, self-perception, modern Britain and time. A novel to make you question yourself; a novel to obsess about.


Jacob Little is in trouble - existential trouble. Over ten years, he has tried out such a range of identities that he has lost all sense of who he is. Convinced that only his ex-lover Solace can help, Jacob sets off for her Scottish hometown, only to get caught up in the lives of four people with their own issues: his self-deluding landlady, a teenager looking for a grand romance, an old watchmaker obsessed with time and a young girl who believes she's a boy.

Each sees Jacob in a different light. For each, he is a catalyst. But where does that leave him? Or, dear reader, you?

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Praise for In Search of Solace

  • Accomplished . . . Although the characters are a fascinating bundle of quirks, archetypes and meticulously original characterisation, Mackie's unique narrative voice is the real highlight . . . A nuanced look at identity, memory and modern Britain, In Search of Solace is a novel in the vein of Iain Banks at his best. - The List

  • This is a cautionary tale about the way we live now, and the importance of being rooted in one identity . . . Mackie uses time loops to build a complex and intriguing mystery around Jacob, who although flawed, is incredibly compelling . . . An accomplished, fresh and darkly comic second novel - Stylist

  • Emily Mackie was brought up in Scotland and the characters she draws in the small town are strong and believable . . . she writes beautiful, clever, often funny prose that challenges conventions . . . It hops about, forwards and backwards, diverting from third-person to first-person, from years ahead to years before, until the reader is almost dizzy from trying to keep up with the sequence of events. But it is only then, having disorientated the reader that Mackie begins subtly, layer by layer, peeling away the preconceptions that she herself has introduced and revealing the truth of the matter. - Daily Express

  • The reader is pulled in by this book's strange charm, so that, by the end, it's likely you'll have started thinking about the concept of identity - including your own. It's not a comfortable read - disturbing, rather - but confirms Mackie, whose first novel was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, as someone to keep an eye on. - Daily Mail

  • "With me as your guide," says the narrator of this extraordinary novel, "you will see the awkward uncomfortable, the gruesome grotesque, the rancid bilious retching of life." This is undoubtedly true - but you'll also see humour, scary amounts of imaginative energy and writing that crackles with talent. - Saga

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Emily Mackie

Emily Mackie was born in Winchester in 1983 and grew up in Scotland. After graduating with an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University in 2007, her first novel, And This is True, was published in 2010 and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize as well as the Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year Award. Her second novel, In Search of Solace, was published by Sceptre in 2014.

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