These stories explore place and landscape at different stages of decay, positioning them as fighting grounds for death and renewal. From dystopian Andalusia to Scotland or the Norfolk countryside, they bring together monstrous insects, ghostly lovers, soon-to-be extinct species, unexpected birds, and interstellar explorers, to form a coherent narrative about loss and absence.
Shortlisted for two BFA Awards – Best Collection & Best Newcomer
Shortlisted for a BSFA Award – Best short story, ‘Kingfisher’
PRAISE FOR LOST OBJECTS
“An intriguing and illuminating first collection, chockfull of interesting ideas about the natural world and ourselves.” Jeff VanderMeer
“Addresses humankind’s senseless despoliation of its home in subtle, profoundly affecting ways.” Tim Jarvis, Los Angeles Review of Books
“A first collection powerful enough to scar.” Simon Strantzas
“Highlights everything that speculative fiction, of all possible modes of literature, excels at.” Nina Allan
“Fiction that blends a fantastic sense of place with a haunting glimpse of the near future; it’s work that’s difficult to shake–which is the point.” Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn
“A beautiful, haunting eulogy to our planet.” Eco-Fiction
“These stories, where birds drop from the sky and giant butterflies haunt the imagination, fizz with a unique and strange originality.” Gary Budden
“A gorgeous, intelligent collection, both masterfully written and cannily prescient… and crafted in a manner that I suspect we will come to recognise as uniquely Womack.” Laura Mauro, Black Static
“Luminous and disturbing as the unearthly things they describe, Marian Womack’s gorgeously written tales map the shifting boundaries between waking life and dream, past and future and our own profoundly unsettled present. Reading them left me with goosebumps.” Elizabeth Hand
“This book–an aviary of the strange, a vital evocation of wild and fleeting spirits–marks the emergence of a fantastic new talent.” Helen Marshall
“Exquisite prose, mesmerizing imagery. Womack has the gift of bringing other/future worlds to life such that we lose ourselves completely in her vision.” Rachel Cordasco
“These short story gems dance at the edge of the world, finding poetry in loss and devastation. Marian Womack is an artist with a unique and powerfully-wrought vision.” Una McCormack
Part supernatural gothic horror, part environmental tale, The Golden Key is mystery novel in the vein of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Alice in Wonderland and Sarah Waters.
1901. Queen Victoria is dead, and England heaves with the uncanny. Séances are held and the dead are called upon from darker realms. Helena Walton-Cisneros, known for her ability to find the lost and the displaced, is hired by the elusive Lady Matthews to solve a twenty-year-old mystery: the disappearance of her three stepdaughters who vanished without a trace on the Norfolk Fens.
Eliza Waltraud is solving a vanishing of her own, that of Eunice Foote from the science books, after being the first person to theorise about the warming of the atmosphere due to poisonous gases in her writings. Is the disappearance of the tern connected with a pollution problem, or is something darker afoot?
PRAISE FOR THE GOLDEN KEY
“A fascinating, unsettling tale that shifts, mutates and changes meaning much like the eerie ruined house in the Fens at the centre of this weird and brilliant debut novel.” Lisa Tuttle
“Slow-burning gothic to folk horror to environmentalism and the destructive arrogance of imperialism. The end result is a smart, haunting novel that stuns the reader with its elegance and beauty but refuses to leave their mind after reading.” Jonathan Thornton, The Fantasy Hive
“Precise and eerie … Patient readers willing to wade through Womack’s murky, off-kilter world will be rewarded with moments of disquieting beauty.” Publishers Weekly
“It’s in keeping with Womack’s past work that the most resonant moments in this novel are those where the landscape becomes a character, and arguably the most sinister one to be found within these pages.” Tobias Carroll, Tor.com
“An intriguing and unsettling tale… Womack brings a great sense of the uncanny to the Fens.”
“Graceful, moving, confident and intricate, like slipping into a warm bath and finding secret thorns there to pierce the heart.”
“A beguiling mystery that lingers long after reading, much like the unsettling mists of the Fens that creep through this story. The Golden Key mesmerises.”
“A compelling mystery in which everyone has hidden facets, this book gives up its secrets like a puzzle box.” G.V. Anderson