The Tidal Zone

By Sarah Moss

NHS, Anaphylaxis, Trauma

Fiction

Published by Granta Books

Longlist 2017

One day Adam receives a call and finds out that Miriam, his 15-year-old daughter, has collapsed at school, her heart having stopped. Over the next few weeks, Adam’s safe family life is thrown into turmoil as they try to find out what’s wrong with her.

Adam is a stay-at-home dad who is also working on a history of the bombing and rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral. He is a good man and he is happy. But one day, he receives a call from his daughter’s school to inform him that, for no apparent reason, 15-year-old Miriam has collapsed and stopped breathing. In that moment, he is plunged into a world of waiting, agonising, not knowing. The story of his life and the lives of his family are rewritten and retold around this shocking central event, around a body that has inexplicably failed.

In this exceptionally courageous and unflinching novel of contemporary life, Sarah Moss goes where most of us wouldn’t dare to look, and the result is riveting – unbearably sad, but also miraculously funny and ultimately hopeful. ‘The Tidal Zone’ explores parental love, overwhelming fear, illness and recovery. It is about clever teenagers and the challenges of marriage. It is about the NHS, academia, sex and gender in the 21st century, the work–life juggle, and the politics of packing lunches and loading dishwashers. It confirms Sarah Moss as a unique voice in modern fiction and as a writer of luminous intelligence.

Reviews