Jessie Greengrass & Gwendoline Riley: The Agony of Love
‘Jessie Greengrass makes words dance. And she makes me want to stand up and dance with them.’ Elif Shafak’s selection of Greengrass as one of ten exciting women writers in the UK coincides neatly with the publication of her second novel, The High House – a book which boldly underlines Shafak’s assessment. Set in a near-future version of Suffolk that’s flooded by rising seawater, a family has prepared a self-sufficient refuge in a house built on a bluff, where the children can be sent to live in safety as the climate crisis wreaks havoc on the world.
Against this dystopian backdrop, family relations become strained. Meanwhile, Gwendoline Riley’s powerfully engaging new novel My Phantoms offers razor-sharp insights into forty-something Bridget’s strained relationship with her mother. At times deeply uncomfortable, the curdled atmosphere between Bridget and Helen is nonetheless one forged out of loyalty and a complicated display of love. Greengrass and Riley discuss the intertwining nature of love and pain.