I was thrilled to open a publisher's package this morning and find inside Sarah Moss's new novel Signs for Lost Children, "the triumphant continuation of [her] ongoing examination of women's lives, and a radical inquiry into the workings of the human heart".
If you've read her excellent Night Waking (there is a post on it here) and her more recent, superb Bodies of Light (post here), then you'll be familiar with the Moberley family, specifically sisters Ally and May; the new book takes up Ally's story.
Set in 19th. century England and Japan, it begins with a six month period of separation for the newly married Tom Cavendish and Dr. Ally Moberley-Cavendish. Tom goes to Japan to build lighthouses, while Ally stays in England and works at the Truro asylum. "As Ally plunges into the politics of madness, Tom navigates the social nuances of Japan - both to the detriment of their love for each other.
With emotional insight and an eye for historical detail, Sarah Moss builds a novel in two parts from Falmouth to Tokyo - two maps of absence, two distinct but conjoined portraits of loneliness and determination. What can befall the human spirit when separation disturbs the fragile calm of a relationship, when the ghosts of an unhappy childhood resurface?"
The book isn't out until early July, but on the basis of Sarah Moss's earlier work this is one to look forward to - and meanwhile, if you haven't read her others, do so now!