Signs for Lost Children

By Sarah Moss

Family, Medicine, History


Published by Granta

Shortlist 2016
Signs for Lost Children by Sarah Moss

Set in the 1880s, ‘Signs for Lost Children’ carries on from ‘Bodies of Light’, which was shortlisted in 2015, following a newly married couple who are separated and change in each other’s absence.

Protagonist Ally is now a prizewinning doctor, one of the pioneering group who, against fierce opposition, fought to open up medicine to women. Only weeks into their marriage, she and her husband Tom embark on a six-month period of separation. Tom goes to Japan to build lighthouses, while Ally stays and works at the Truro asylum. As Ally plunges into the politics of madness, Tom navigates the social nuances of late-19th-century Japan.

With her unique blend of emotional insight and intellectual profundity, Sarah Moss builds a novel in two parts, painting two distinct but conjoined portraits of loneliness and determination. ‘Signs for Lost Children’ is a powerful enquiry into the workings of the human mind and heart.

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