The Coming Bad Days by Sarah Bernstein (Signed)
Signed author bookplate
'The truth is that sometimes we just want the worst to happen.'
A woman leaves the man she lives with and moves to a low stone cottage in a university town. She joins an academic department and, high up in her office on the thirteenth floor, begins a research project on the poet Paul Celan. She knows nothing of Celan, still less of her new neighbours or colleagues.
She is in self-imposed exile, hoping to find dignity in her loneliness. Like everywhere, the abiding feeling in the city is one of paranoia. The weather is deteriorating, the ordinary lives of women are in peril, and an unexplained curfew has been imposed.
But then she meets Clara, a woman who is her exact opposite: decisive, productive and assured. As their friendship grows in intimacy Clara suggests another way of living - until an act of violence threatens to sever everything between them.
Reminiscent of Thomas Bernhard, Rachel Cusk and Gwendoline Riley, The Coming Bad Days is a penetrating portrait of feminine vulnerability and cruelty. It announces the arrival of a startling new voice in fiction: intelligent, brutal, sure, and devastatingly funny.
'Deeply moving. Sarah Bernstein manages to combine cool, perfectly weighted prose with an extraordinary emotional sensibility. Every sentence is polished and replete.' Fiona Mozley, author of Elmet
Paperback / 272 pages