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Sealed

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  711 ratings  ·  158 reviews
Timely and suspenseful, Sealed is a gripping modern fable on motherhood, a terrifying portrait of ordinary people under threat from their own bodies and from the world around them. With elements of speculative fiction and the macabre, this is also an unforgettable story about a mother’s fight to survive.

Heavily pregnant Alice and her partner Pete are done with the city. Ab
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Paperback, 170 pages
Published September 25th 2017 by dead ink
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  711 ratings  ·  158 reviews


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Gumble's Yard
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, 2018-ntb
Part of the 2018 Guardian Not The Booker shortlist for which I am delighted to have been picked as a judge.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/boo...

This book is published by Dead Ink, a UK small press focused on bringing” the most challenging and experimental new writing out from the underground and present it to our audience in the most beautiful way possible.”

Impressively Dead Ink have two books on the Guardian 2018 Not The Booker shortlist – this (picked by public vote) and Three Dreams In T
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Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
This was a completely unexpected triumph of a book. I bought it entirely on a whim in my local independent and read it immediately, prompted by Aliya Whiteley’s recommendation on the back. And it’s blooming wonderful. A searing and unflinching work of eco-horror told in a lyrical and muscular prose. I was utterly drawn in by Alice’s narrative voice, and thought the final 30 pages were a masterpiece of suspense. It was the book I wanted Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From to be. Probably the bes ...more
Renee Godding
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
lark benobi
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of FEVER DREAM by Samanta Schweblin
A woman gets pregnant unexpectedly, just as the world careens toward a the most horrific eco-disaster you can imagine. The writing was great, the emotional landscape was truthful, and I'm going to read everything Naomi Booth writes from now on.

My fondest delight, when it came to my reading experience with this book, was the birth scene. I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say there is a birth scene, since the whole book before then is the story of a ponderously pregnant woman searching for a
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TraceyL
A pregnant woman, who is basically afraid of everything, tries to survive a pandemic where people's orifices seal over. I wanted more of the disease stuff in the story. There was way too much of the main character's panicked thoughts about everything from her body to the environment to chemicals in their food.

She was probably the dumbest pregnant woman I've ever read about. I understand that she didn't want to be pregnant in the first place, and was avoiding preparing for the baby because she c
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Jason
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magic-square
In my opinion there are two types of dystopian novels; 1: Ones that are way in the future, completely unbelievable and a nice entertaining read (The Hunger Games fir example). 2: Ones that are in the near future, you can see humans heading in this direction, it is possible that these could happen whilst you're still alive, these books can be really scary. Sealed falls into the second category.

In this future, the temperature has risen, food has been poisoned by chemicals and plastics in the water
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enricocioni
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Now THAT was an ending. The last twenty or so pages of Sealed are the closest thing a book has ever made me feel to that scene towards the end of a horror film when something horrific is about to happen or is happening and every fibre of your being wants to look away but your eyes remain glued to the screen—(a) because you’re paralysed by terror, (b) because if you look away you known your imagination may well conjure things that are even worse than what the filmmakers came up with, (c) because ...more
Trisha
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the first flames, everything is just dying sparks."

This was an interesting if jumbled read. I liked the uncertainty and the real horror of it. But I didn't like the feeling of really wondering what was going on and if the MC Alice was just imagining it all or if it was really happening. I felt like the world was just barely opened up to us, with so much more possibility. Was Alice really breathing anything in? I wanted so much more world and information less about Alice's own musing and me
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Rachel Dawn Drenning
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow. When a book is written in a context that could actually happen, that's horror. I highly, highly recommend this book. ...more
Jackie Law
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
“I’d felt it too, the too-muchness of being in love. But I hated Pete for it at the same time. I hated his freedom and how guiltlessly he lived, how easily he took love and gave love, and how much danger he’d put me in. And most of all, I hated that he might be right, that he was living the right way and that I was wrong: too frightened, too careful, too guarded to really enjoy life.”

Sealed, by Naomi Booth, is set in a near future Australia. Rising temperatures have brought with them storms and
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Noa
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
This was quick and original and intensely creepy! Don't think Pete worked as a character and didn't fancy the ending, but entertaining nonetheless. ...more
Ian Mond
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
I’m going to take a punt here and say that Sealed by Naomi Booth will be the most frustrating book I read all year.

There is so much about this novel I enjoyed ranging from Booth’s visceral, exquisitely grotesque prose to her social commentary on how society treats the poor and elderly. Beyond the body horror, the most disturbing aspect of the novel is how quickly those who can’t defend themselves have their basic rights stripped from them, leaving no choice but to submit to displacement camps es
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Becky Spratford
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review on blog and in the June 2019 issue of Booklist: https://raforall.blogspot.com/2019/06...

Three Words That Describe This Book: unrelenting tension, unreliable narrator, cli-fi
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Hailey M
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Holy shit.
Helen
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very intense horror set in a beautiful landscape of the Australian Blue Mountains. Booth's writing is so vivid you feel like you're experiencing the tension and fear Alice is going through. Gripping but some sections are not for the faint hearted. ...more
Sabrina
What struck me most about this novel is the mystery illness lurking like a predator in the background, adding an element of dread and impending doom. The true villain of this novel is gaslighting, and how easy it is to quash a woman's anxieties and write them off as trivial or overblown. The climax was extremely page-turning, if not a bit abrupt and quickly resolved. I really enjoyed this novel overall. ...more
Stephen Curran
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Paging Mr Cronenberg! If nobody has bought the rights to SEALED yet then they ought to get a wriggle on. An exercise in building tension, it would make a brilliant film adaptation (if one that might result in a flood of audience walk-outs).

That’s not to say it doesn’t work fantastically as a book. The story is tight as a fist, the ragingly hot landscape is vividly evoked, and the sustained descriptive passages are absolutely gripping. Would I class it as literary fiction, or a genre piece? Is it
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Wendle
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, first-reads
I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher via their twitter account, and i was quite intrigued by the sound of it. Described as an “eco horror” it instantly sounded interesting to me.

I loved the “eco” side of the story, with the mysterious new cutis disease, the smog of the cities, the wild fires of the mountains, and “protected” food. There was also some political aspects, with some cutis cover ups, displacement camps run like prisons, a lack of local resources. It had a lot of dyst
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Jan Lynch
In her acknowledgements, Naomi Booth thanks her parents for their support "even when my work is too disgusting for them to read." As someone who cringed more than once while reading Sealed; who spent time snuggled under my quilt, warm and comfortable, but unable to sleep, images from the book lingering in my head; and who randomly imagined the disease described in the book, all the while reminding myself that the book is fiction, made-up, not real--I completely sympathize with Booth's parents. A ...more
James
Aug 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hannah PS
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My reading has been so very slow lately, and so this book caught me by surprise. A gripping, excellent, horrific surprise. I raced through it in one day, unable to stop turning the pages.

Set in rural Australia in the near-future, the real-world concerns such as climate change and internment camps blend with the outbreak of a fictional disease which has the heavily pregnant protagonist, Alice, gripped with terror.

The novel expertly delves deep into Alice's senses and bodily discomfort and disasso
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Jennifer
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: uk, horror
I found this book to be a little predictable. It wasn't for me. The main character, Alice, incessantly worries about toxins and various skin-sealing scenarios that could happen throughout the book, thus the ending was not a big surprise.

This is a debut novel taking place in a rural community in Australia. Alice, almost to term with her pregnancy, and her boyfriend, Pete, move from the city to the country as a means to escape a skin sealing virus reaping havoc in the city. Once they settle in the
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Aoife
Jan 15, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

CW: Mild body horror, racial slurs against Aboriginal people, traumatic birth scene

Alice is heavily pregnant when she lets her boyfriend Pete convince her to move out to the Australian bush, and away from the ever stressful city. A rare condition called cutis has sprung up, which literally means someone's skin begins to seal over any orifice in the body - in the worst cases, people have died suffocated by their own skin. Alice has become obsessed with the illness, and inherently scared
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Donna Hines
“I’ve been watching him for any signs that he’s still upset. I know he was scared by what he saw in town, I saw it in his face. But as he tidied up the living-room, set out the camping chairs, opened another beer, there was no sign of any fear left. He started whistling and put some music on. It’s gone: the anxiety has passed through him quick as clouds across a blue, wind-blown sky.”
Can you imagine having zero voice in terms of your rights to your own body, your own environment, and your own re
...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea Blythe
Set in rural Australia, Sealed by Naomi Booth is a psychological body horror novel. Much of the tension is driven by the anxieties of the main character Alice, who is heavily pregnant and her fears about rumors of a bizarre disease that seals people within their own skins. When her obsession with the disease nearly threatens her government job, Alice and her boyfriend Pete (who I find annoying) travel to the countryside in search of solitude and safety. But Alice still sees signs of the disease ...more
Marie
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Okay I just finished this book and I can already tell I'm going to think about it for the rest of my life. Everything about it is incredible, the characterization, the disease that constantly lures in the background, the writing, the setting, the perfectly realistic reactions to the disease, Alice's entire character and the entire pregnancy angle which truly manages to depicts the very visceral fear of child birth, the relationship between Alice and her mother, the annoying male characters... I' ...more
Caitlin Macnab
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've never written a review of anything I've read on goodreads but this book was so impactful. I don't know if this is a book for everyone since there are many themes and issues discussed in this book that are disturbing (disease, body horror, grief).

But WOW! What a book. If you like dystopian literature read this book. Especially since we are in the midst a global pandemic the main character's fears, and obsessions are mirrored in reality. Plus, the commentary on climate change and Australian w
...more
Octavia (ReadsWithDogs)
I randomly picked this up at my library and I loved it!
I have no idea why I haven't seen or heard of Sealed before! The writing was lyrical and easy to read at the same time and I read this rapidly over two days.

Sealed is the story of a pregnant woman and her partner who move from the city in Australia to the woods to escape what seems to be a rapidly spreading illness that causes your skin to seal itself in. People's mouths and ears and all openings are closing up and the government seems to be
...more
Ellie
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
An eco-horror apocalyptic novel, where forest fires rage, toxic smoke is everywhere and expensive 'protected' food is grown indoors to protect from the air. A new and horrific skin disease is starting to appear, covered up by the authorities and predominantly affecting the poor. Through pregnant Alice's eyes we watch as she struggles to cope with a move to the 'safer' rural Australian countryside, dealing with a lack of phone reception, a well-meaning but patronising boyfriend and medical servic ...more
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“I kiss him back and try to shrink my anger, to swallow it down with all the mucus and the bile. But whenever I try to do that, whenever I try to make my anger disappear, it just gets harder and more compact, like sedimentary rock, and then I’m left with this hard compact in my chest. I give up on asking what he saw at the doctors’. My heart becomes a little stone.” 0 likes
“I’ve been watching him for any signs that he’s still upset. I know he was scared by what he saw in town, I saw it in his face. But as he tidied up the living-room, set out the camping chairs, opened another beer, there was no sign of any fear left. He started whistling and put some music on. It’s gone: the anxiety has passed through him quick as clouds across a blue, wind-blown sky.” 0 likes
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