A soul’s journey through the night, a missing woman: time and narrative bend and interlock across a play of poetic forms and voices to make one story of love and loss. In And She Was Corbett combines the fictional spell-making of Haruki Murakami, with the filmic neo-noir of Atom Egoyan (Exotica) and David Lynch (Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive), to push the boundaries of poetic genre, asking us to renegotiate the way we encounter and reconfigure ourselves through trauma, in desire, or as we seek to reassemble ourselves and our past.
November, 3am, and two young lovers are about to meet on the Heathrow Express.
A side street in an unknown city: Felix Morning wakes with no memory. In his pocket is a membership card for a nightclub, The Bunker. With the help of the beautiful Flick, he must recover what he has lost.
Deep into a dangerous love affair, Esther and Iain believe the other can replace what they each have lost – a heart, a gift – but is Esther’s price too high for Iain to pay, and can their love survive?
Who is Esther, where has she come from, and what has she got to do with the woman in the labyrinth? Does Flick belong to the past or to the future? What is memory, and what remains of us without it?
And She Was demands our attention, its startling and dazzling writing asking us to be carried away as we read, but returning us by its end to a place both resolved and transformed.
A romance, a thriller, a myth, Sarah Corbett’s new poem will have her readers hurrying through its pages to find out what happens before returning more slowly to the pleasures of her stepped, tilting stanzas and their line-by-line transformations of her characters and their places in the world. “Step in”, she writes, “and the space unfolds / one box opening into others”.
– John McAuliffe
‘Can memory be put in a box?’ asks one of the characters in Sarah Corbett’s mysterious, condensed and achingly beautiful narrative tale. This lyrical, unsettling, and arresting poem about passion, memory and loss possesses an hallucinatory quality. Corbett creates an extraordinary urban world where a man reaching for his past finds it ever out of reach. The erotic writing captures the complexity of sexual connection and ‘the inner silk of memory’. Corbett writes fluid and irresistible poetry, to be read, re-read and savoured.
– Patricia Duncker
In this dazzling tour de force, Sarah Corbett reworks the verse-novel into a contemporary odyssey through a labyrinthine underworld where myth and the unconscious collide. With effortless formal dexterity, her poetry is by turns mysterious, disturbing, startling and intensely sensuous, and if a poetry book can be a page- turner then this is that book. At its heart this is a narrative of loss and redemption as deeply humane as it is ambitious: you will want to read it in a single sitting, then re-read to savour its impeccable craft. An exciting development in contemporary narrative poetry, and a must-read.
– Tiffany Atkinson
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