The much anticipated second novel from Matthew Yorke, a previous winner of the John Llewllyn Rhys prize.
"I am going to find my parents... if I don't track them down I'll be one of the unlucky ones."
So writes seventeen-year-old Lily Myers, for whom, adopted at birth, there are so many unanswered questions. Who are her biological parents? Does she have brothers and sisters? Where else might she have lived had if she not been given away? Most pressing is the simplest question of all: "Why was I given up?"
In Lily's case there is refuge in melody. It's in the dub venues of the north of England, in the fizzing bass lines, the buzz of static. Here is the volume to quell the doubts, the fears, even the truth. Yet these melodies have the power to suggest possibilities of their own - not least when coupled with Ayahuasca, a visionary plant used by Amazonian shamans as a vehicle to commune with the spirit world, a world where there can be no secrets.
Hitherto Lily's quest has been confined to this psychic plane, transcending space and time to communicate with spirits so real they are real, gathering from them clues about her past, her people. It has been at perilous cost to her mental health. Now, at eighteen, her birth certificate and adoption file are hers for the taking. But will the journey end there? Indeed can she ever come to understand the true significance of 'finding my parents'?
Praise for Matthew Yorke's previous novel The March Fence:
This is a novel which throbs with life and wonder at the manifold varieties of experience... The talent for writing novels may be hard to define, yet it is unmistakable when encountered... is the real thing... the best first novel that I have read in a long time. Alan Massie.
A most impresseive debut. Elaine Feinstein, The Times.
Distinctive, energetic...the narrative takes a real grip. Hilary Mantel. Daily Telegraph.
Pictures of Lily is wise and precise, cool and contemporary. You get to know about this girl, about the trials of adoption, about dub reggae and skunk weed. But mostly you get to know about the mysteries of belonging. The novel has a brilliantly inhabited female voice, and Matthew Yorke's new novel will surely be among the best of the year.
Yorke inhabits his teenage protagonist in a way that is utterly convincing. - Financial Times
Utterly convincing - The Scotsman
Quite an achievement - The Lady
Brilliantly depicting the angst-ridden mind of a teen in turmoil. - Grazia
Convincing and moving. - The Scotsman