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Salt Slow

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Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award

From White Review Short Story Prize winner Julia Armfield, a brilliant, provocative debut story collection for fans of Carmen Maria Machado and Kelly Link.

In her electrifying debut, Julia Armfield explores women’s experiences in contemporary society, mapped through their bodies. As urban dwellers’ sleeps become disassociated from them, like Peter Pan’s shadow, a city turns insomniac. A teenager entering puberty finds her body transforming in ways very different than her classmates’. As a popular band gathers momentum, the fangirls following their tour turn into something monstrous. After their parents remarry, two step-sisters, one a girl and one a wolf, develop a dangerously close bond. And in an apocalyptic landscape, a pregnant woman begins to realize that the creature in her belly is not what she expected.

Blending elements of horror, science fiction, mythology, and feminism, salt slow is an utterly original collection of short stories that are sure to dazzle and shock, heralding the arrival of a daring new voice.

208 pages, Hardcover

First published May 30, 2019

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About the author

Julia Armfield

8 books940 followers
Julia Armfield was born in London in 1990. She is a fiction writer and occasional playwright with a Masters in Victorian Art and Literature from Royal Holloway University. She was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 2019. She was commended in the Moth Short Story Prize 2017, longlisted for the Deborah Rogers Award 2018, and won the White Review short story prize 2018. Her first book, salt slow, is a collection of short stories about bodies and the bodily, mapping the skin and bones of its characters through their experiences of isolation, obsession and love. She won the Pushcart Prize in 2020. Julia Armfield lives and works in London.

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5 stars
2,476 (32%)
4 stars
3,181 (41%)
3 stars
1,569 (20%)
2 stars
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1 star
67 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,348 reviews
Profile Image for Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd).
332 reviews7,309 followers
November 6, 2019
Longer review to come with a more detailed review of each story.

This is equal parts horrific and beautiful, tragic and grotesque, dark and divine. It’s my favorite short story collection that I’ve ever read and I’m already eager to get my hands on whatever Armfield writes next. Not to mention, multiple stories in this unsettling collection are about queer women and queer relationships. I heartily recommend it.

Update 11/5/19:

Eyyy, updating with longer story reviews a hot month after reading this. If you were waiting for a more in-depth look at these stories and what I thought of them then I'm glad you're here reading this.

Mantis - 5/5
Terrifying and engaging in a way that's impossible to look away from. This story about puberty and changes you can't go back from is incredibly haunting and it is a perfect introduction to the rest of the collection. It introduces you to Armfield's writing style, which is evocative and bone-chilling, and also sets the tone for these stories of horror and surrealism that center on women.

The Great Awake - 5/5
This is one of the softer stories in the collection, full of longing more than abject terror. It's about a world where one day peoples' sleep just leaves, lifts from their bodies and becomes a new figure that follows them throughout their now never-ending wakefulness. It also has a soft romance that just perfectly balances the gloom of being awake forever, no matter how tired you get. Plus that romance is queer! The first queer story of the collection.

The Collectibles - 4/5
Sometimes after a breakup you just have to set out on a Victor Frankenstein-esque path to avoid yet another rebound and also to avoid your PhD thesis. This story is strong and suitably disturbing, but the writing isn't quite as evocative here as it is in the others. But the lengths to which some of the characters go to avoid their theses is honest to god the biggest mood of all time. Just build yourself a boyfriend, it's fine.

Formerly Feral - 4.5/5
A celebration of girls who refuse to confirm, who allow themselves to become feral and frightening. Fuck yeah, feral girls. Really, this is a story about a girl whose new step sister is a literal, actual wolf and slowly but surely she gets to realize her feral personality can be shared and celebrated by her new wolf sibling. This was angry and creepy in the best way and it was such an adventure to read.

Stop Your Women's Ears With Wax - 5/5
I forgot to breathe while reading this story. It's full of the frenetic energy of women who are passionate, but with that twinge of horror. The power of female singer/songwriters and their clawing lyrics and the frenzy that follows if that frenzy was cranked up to eleven. Plus it has an angry, road crew f/f romance. If you happened to read Scotto Moore's fascinating novella Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You that was released earlier this year and you've been looking for more then this has got to be your follow up. I think my enjoyment of this story increased even more considering I read it immediately before I went to a female singer/songwriter concert and got to feel the obsessive passion of that live performance firsthand.

Granite - 4/5
Loved the imagery of this one, but I didn't quite understand the conclusion it came to. There's a lot of reflection on love and of letting another person into your life, and the slow building dread was perfect, but I wish there had been a bit more. Still really eerie and interesting.

Smack - 2.5/5
This was my least favorite of the collection, clearly. The speculative element is basically absent, which I thought was unfortunate, and I just didn't understand this narrator or the story that was being told. Honestly I think the biggest failing was that it wasn't bad, necessarily, just forgettable amidst all of the other incredible works in the book.

Cassandra - 5/5
A ghost story that hit a little too close to home. It's haunting and regretful, full of messy queerness and the confused process of mourning. It's sad and kind of hard to read, but it's also a beautiful way to process the loss of someone especially when you had a relationship full of contradictions and confusion. (This is the word for word note I took upon finishing this story, which left me feeling raw, so that's going to be my full takeaway from Cassandra)

Salt Slow - 5/5
I couldn't have been more pleased with the final story in this collection. Salt Slow is an apocalyptic world of water alongside the terror of new motherhood. This is a story about a pregnant woman, adrift with just her partner in a world that has been completely flooded, as she realizes that the thing in her womb might not be entirely human. It's a horrifying read, which makes it an absolutely perfect conclusion.

Average rating: 4.44
Final rating: 5/5

I know I bumped the average a bit on this one but I simply couldn't imagine not giving this collection 5 stars. Its strong stories far outweigh the couple that don't land quite as well and I was utterly obsessed with ever page. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for short fiction, particularly speculative horror.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
672 reviews4,297 followers
September 26, 2020
“The sky is gory with stars, like the insides of a gutted night.”

Wow. Wow wow wow. This book blew me away! If you’re a fan of dark, weird, macabre, beautifully written stories, then you need to read Salt Slow, a collection of nine distinct tales about womanhood. But these stories focus on unruly women, the best kind.

What I love most about these stories is that they are rooted in the mundane, but then Armfield introduces these details that elevate the stories from everyday humdrum scenarios to the weird and unusual. And it’s all executed in such a gorgeously vivid haunting way. I was obsessed from the very first story.

Each of the 9 stories are unique and memorable. We have women obsessed with creating the perfect man in the form of a Frankenstein-like monster, a girl who has a wolf as a stepsister, a woman’s girlfriend who claws out of her grave to visit her former lover, an all-female band who’s fans turn violent... the scope and imagination that Armfield demonstrates is amazing!

I loved every single story, but the one that REALLY stood out for me was The Great Awake, wherein a city begins to suffer from insomnia as sleep becomes a shadow-like form that leaves their bodies. These people are able to remain awake without needing rest, but not everyone loses their “sleep”. I need a NOVEL about this, please. It was fascinating.

Easily one of the best short story collections I’ve ever read. And the queer representation is on point too - multiple f/f relationships. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to sit here and twiddle my thumbs, waiting on what Armfield does next...

Thanks to @ab_reads for gifting this to me! I’m not sure I would have picked it up on my own!
Profile Image for Renee Godding.
641 reviews633 followers
March 7, 2022
“Before him, she had often wondered whether solitude was a skill one could lose, like schoolgirl latin. Or whether it was simply a talent one acquired, bikelike, never afterwards forgotten.”

4.5/5 stars

A mesmerizing collection magical realism of short stories from a debut author that I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for in the future.
This collection gave me major Kirsty Logan-, Jen Campbell- and Samantha Hunt- vibes, which automatically lets you know it was very much up my alley. It consists of 9 tales that explore themes of female adolescence, body, love and change, whilst consistently balancing the tightrope of the line between reality and bizarre imagination.
Julia Armfield has a beautiful way with words and imagery, where she turns the average upside down and inside out, to show what’s at its core emotionally.
As a whole it’s a well-balanced collection that feels coherent, and I liked the majority of stories with the exception of only one.

As with any magical realism, there is going to be an element of hit-or-miss based on personal taste. I think the backflap and title (including the stunning cover) do a great job of representing the books content:
“women become insects, men turn to stone, a city becomes insomniac and bodies are picked apart to make up better ones”…

If that’s the kind of description that draws you in, this is most likely going to be a book for you, as it was for me.

Ratings per story:
- Mantis: 4/5
- The Great Sleep 4/5
- The Collectables 3/5
- Formally Feral 2/5
- Stop your Womens Ears with wax 2/5
- Granite 5/5
- Smack 4/5
- Cassandra After 5/5
- Salt Slow 5/5
Profile Image for Cinzia DuBois.
Author 1 book2,860 followers
September 15, 2019
I am incredibly torn about how to review this book. Armfield’s writing is brilliant - her prose is visceral and haunting. However, it’s almost too visceral. Whilst I have absolutely no qualms with the writing or it’s effectiveness, these stories were stomach-churningly disturbing to say the least, so much so that each time I put down the book, I was reluctant to pick it up again.

I haven’t felt so sickened by literary imagery since reading Ballard’s ���Crash’. Along with that, the stories are deeply dark and depressing. Whilst they were largely fantastical in element, the real-world images and concepts they alluded to or allegorised were horrifyingly close to home and I found myself registers by extremely upsetting thoughts.

Whilst I loved the writing style and sheer talent of the author, I was left feeling relieved to have finished and hopeful to forget the images the book imprinted in my mind as soon as possible. That power of writing is nothing short of a huge compliment to the author and her fascinating talent, but because of my personal sensitivity to suicide, death and depression, It’s not something I would ever want to read again (or could). Nevertheless, I won’t allow my personal response to the book to taint this author’s credibility which is why I rated it as highly as I did.
Profile Image for Emily Coffee and Commentary.
471 reviews156 followers
October 21, 2022
An enticing, surreal assembly of stories that examines transformation, and the wondrous power of the feminine body. This collection explores the struggles to embrace sexuality and identity, the catharsis of coming to terms with the fact that people change and grow apart, some loss is permanent and ever present. Written with a beautiful mix of genres and tone, Salt Slow is an ode to all “dangerous women.”
Profile Image for Lotte.
559 reviews1,116 followers
August 15, 2019
4.5/5. This is one of the best short story collections I've ever read!
Julia Armfield writes brilliantly eerie, evocative and inventive stories about women's bodies and experiences. In these stories, an entire city becomes insomniac as sleep grows into a physical entity that escapes its owners, an all-female rock band's army of loyal teenage fans develop an uncontrollable power and in a post-apocalyptic world of water, dark things lurk in the deep. In Armfield's imagination, mundane, everyday things gain a dark and thoroughly other quality, while sinister scenarios become horrifyingly ordinary.
There wasn't a single bad story in this collection, only one I didn't jell with as much (Smack) but still liked overall. There were, however, quite a few stories that stood out especially and that are among the best pieces of dark, twisted short fiction I've ever had the pleasure of reading. My absolute favourites were The Collectables (build-a-boyfriend gone awry), Formerly Feral (the best twist on "Peter and the Wolf" imaginable), Stop your women's ears with wax (never underestimate the power of teenage fanaticism) and the title story, salt slow (post-apocalyptic bleakness meets the primal horror of pregnancy – I would not recommend reading this while actually pregnant).
All of these stories were entirely memorable in their own way and will likely stay with me for a very long time. I'm absolutely hooked on Julia Armfield's writing now and will definitely be reading whatever she comes out with next.
Profile Image for Melcat.
282 reviews26 followers
February 12, 2023
"Salt Slow" by Julia Armfield (I think best known for Our Wives Under the Sea) is a haunting and disturbing collection of short stories. The melancholy lingered with me long after I finished it.

Armfield's writing style is captivating and a standout feature of this book, making it a truly unique and memorable reading experience. I was thoroughly impressed.
Profile Image for fatma.
923 reviews658 followers
December 11, 2019
4.5 stars
"We are frenetic with hunger, with wanting, with the repentance of the season. We laugh like hyenas, our heads thrusting forward from our bodies."

Jane Austen once wrote in one of her letters, “Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked”; she might as well have written Salt Slow's thesis.

Salt Slow is a short-story collection about problem women. The first line of the book is, after all, "I have my Grandmother's skin. Problem skin." Problem skin, problem women. The women of this collection are problem women because they are simply too much: too greedy, too selfish, too obsessive, too dependent. Put another way, they are problem women because they are unruly. And what is so brilliant about Salt Slow is that instead of trying to temper the unruliness of its women, it unabashedly leans into—even celebrates—it. It says, These women are problem women—so what? It never tries to make its women anything less than what they are: ferocious, gross, lazy, needy, careless. Indeed, these are women whose desires and emotions are so extreme they literally push against the bounds of reality: every one of Armfield's stories contains a surrealist/magical realist element, one seamlessly woven into the fabric of its protagonist's life.

I mean, look at some of these descriptions:
"Beneath her dressing gown, she is bloody with mosquito bites. Unrazored beneath the arms, unplucked, unmoistured."

"I had a bad body around that time - creaking joints and difficult digestion, a martyr to mouth ulcers and bleeding gums."

"Beneath my dress, my skin is churning. My legs feel cracked in half, articulated - a spreading and a shifting, as though my bones are springing out of their intended slots."

let 👏 women 👏 be 👏 flawed 👏 I didn't know how much I needed to read about flawed women until I read this book.

Also, Armfield's writing is MAGNIFICENT. Haunting, dark, beautiful. Truly. Again, I'll let her writing speak for itself.
"When I was twenty-seven, my Sleep stepped out of me like a passenger from a train carriage, looked around my room for several seconds, then sat down in the chair beside my bed."

"The jellyfish come with the morning - a great beaching, bodies black on sand. The ocean empties, a thousand dead and dying invertebrates, jungled tentacles and fine, fragile membranes blanketing the shore two miles in each direction. They are translucent, almost spectral, as though the sea has exorcised its ghosts."

"Nicola watches the gentle pull of outgoing water, the glassy sink and swallow, waves drawing back like lips revealing teeth."

"The sky is gory with stars, like the insides of a gutted night."

What more can I say? I fucking loved this. It might be (probably is) my favourite short-story collection ever.
919 reviews255 followers
August 27, 2020
Before I even think about the words here, can we please just applaud the incredible book cover designs that we keep being gifted with?! This book is one of the loveliest looking objects I've picked up in a while, and it's far from being alone in a veritable sea of truly excellent eye-candy.

Even better: it's a solidly good read. I adored books like Kirsty Logan's The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, and Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties, and Salt Slow would make an excellent shelf-companion for them both. The title is one of my favourite I've ever come across (maybe I should make a "favourite titles" shelf? hmmm...), and the 3 - 3.5 star rating is very definitely not a suggestion that this isn't worth reading. Please, in fact, do go out (or - errr, maybe not out out right now - perhaps to your nearest online library system/independent bookstore website and be willing to wait in support of local business) and find a copy to read, especially if you also enjoy the works of Machado and Logan et al. Armfield's stories have serious bite to them, and I especially loved the exquisitely bizarre, grimy Formerly Feral, my favourite of the entire collection. There's a viscerality to it all that will either seriously appeal to or turn off readers, and I'm probably in the former camp, though I occasionally found it a little overbalanced.

So why not rate it more highly? It just felt like something fell a little flat. Like the punchline hit a beat too soon, or too late. This is a debut collection though, and a very good one at that - I seriously look forward to a second, third, other future offering.
Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews192 followers
February 3, 2020
This managed to gross me out in so many different yet very quiet ways, so of course I really appreciated it.

Salt Slow is a collection about unruly women. Women who defy the rules of reality, who are messy and ugly and feral, or turn so; women who are violent, long for the worst, howl at the moon.
In a society in which even a hint of these things in a woman is met with retaliation, it's really refreshing to read stories that bend reality to allow us to be. This book isn't afraid of gore, of going to dark places, and Julia Armfield's prose certainly has teeth - both in the sense that this book will happily sink them in you and in the sense that almost every single story contains multiple occurrences of the word "teeth". (why?)

Salt Slow has the kind of attention to detail that makes magical realism and contemporary fantasy truly magical for me - it cares about the mundane and the small, finds the shine and the rot in it. Most of its power comes from exploring speculative paths based on very real, very unremarkable events, turning an average day into an experience of quiet horror.

These stories all have the kind of conclusions that made me think, which I appreciate immensely. I know this will stay with me, as almost every single story did (interestingly, all of them but the one that gives the title to the book).
I often ended the stories feeling uneasy, and even more often, confused. I had to work to make them make sense, or to find a sense - sometimes the sense is a condensation of a story and your own experiences - and I will never turn down a puzzle, so this was fun as well.

As for what it talks about apart from the unifying thread, there are a lot of themes discussed here that are personal to me - among all, the experience of being raised as a Catholic woman when you're queer. Cassandra After is specifically about that, about how the shame that is written upon us tears us away from our loved ones and our own bodies, as it's probably designed to do; and Mantis is about going through puberty while in Catholic school (...but explored in a way that would definitely appeal to Wilder Girls fans), and while my experiences with that kind of place were toxic for other reasons, all of this is closer to me than I'd like.
Other remarkable stories were Stop your women's ears with wax, a response to the way girl bands and their fans are dismissed - bright, frenetic, beautiful, and wonderfully queer. The Great Awake, another f/f story and again one of my favorites, spoke of the sleepless nature of cities, and how the only way we have to survive them is forging new connections.

Other stories stood out for their imagery to me: Formerly Feral is probably the best example of this, again a story of puberty-as-metamorphosis involving wolves and some of the most unforgettable symbolism I've seen in a long while.

Individual ratings:
Mantis - 4 stars
The Great Awake - 5 stars
The Collectables - 3.5 stars
Formerly Feral - 4 stars
Stop your women's ears with wax - 5 stars
Granite - 4 stars
Smack - 3 stars
Cassandra After - 5 stars
Salt Slow - 2 stars
Average: 3,94 - but, as usual, an anthology is more than a sum of its parts.
Profile Image for JEN A.
214 reviews121 followers
February 9, 2020
This was a weird book. Interesting on some levels but overall pretty weird. Each story had its own take on weirdness. There’s not much more I can say.
Profile Image for Abbie | ab_reads.
603 reviews447 followers
July 26, 2019
Thank you SO MUCH @picadorbooks for gifting me what had become one of my top books of the year and an all time favourite short story collection! If the perfect short story collection exists, then it is Salt Slow by Julia Armfield, and I’m planning on writing her a letter to ask her to write me a short story every day so I never run out of ones to read - is that selfish?
I was in love from the first story, a raw and painful portrayal of the relationship between young girls and their bodies, the competitiveness that they instinctively feel while going through puberty, which then takes a sinister turn, setting the tone for the rest of the stories.
I wouldn’t say there is a single weak story within this collection. The Great Awake, an eerie yet tender story where people’s ‘Sleeps’ have left their bodies and now follow them around like pets, Collectables, delightfully gruesome and sharp, Salt Slow, a haunting end-of-the-world story with all things tentacles beneath the sea, Cassandra After, a woman coming to terms with her sexuality, made more difficult when her girlfriend dies then comes back. I’m not sure I could pick a favourite - maybe Formerly Feral?! But all were truly excellent, Armfield’s imagination is a thing of many creepy wonders.
The extraordinary and ghoulish is told in a matter of fact way, lending a ring of authenticity which is in itself is unsettling. Within the stories she explores gender roles, sexuality, societal pressures, growing up, falling in love, but all with that magical realism touch that takes it to the next level and leaves you wondering what’s simmering beneath the skin...
If you love dark, viscous, oozing, visceral stories then you must have Armfield on your radar! I will be waiting with bated breath for more by her!
Profile Image for Brittany (whatbritreads).
646 reviews1,097 followers
February 17, 2023
Wow. If there’s one thing this collection has taught me about Julia Armfield it’s that people were not exaggerating when they said she was an incredible writer.

I’m not usually a short story person, and honestly if I’d have known beforehand this was a collection I probably would’ve been too hesitant to pick it up but I’m so glad I went into it blindly. I of course enjoyed some stories more than others, but my feelings on the book as a whole are extremely positive. If you’re looking for something unlike you’ve ever read before and you’re eager to get outside of your comfort zone, this is the perfect choice.

The writing was unreal, I don’t know how she was doing it, but Armfield possesses the ability to make even the most mundane and everyday things in life sound beautiful. Never have I read such a gross and unsettling narrative, but been so strongly charmed by how well it was written. There was also an amazing attention to detail and a great scope of creativity and imagination in these stories. They’re so wild and unpredictable, but that was definitely enjoyable. I absolutely loved the dark, grimy vibes of every single story. The mood and aesthetic made it feel really put together and connected despite all of the tales being so wholly unique.

I think it was perfectly paced, and the stories were just the right length to draw you in and keep you interested. They also left me wanting more but it still felt like the perfect balance to me. They were so interesting, so full of character, and very captivating. Some of these will stick with me for a while. I’m a Julia Armfield fan, it’s confirmed. Everyone was right, and this was really well put together. I had a great time and flew through it.
Profile Image for Miles Madonna.
313 reviews38 followers
June 28, 2023
there's something so special about julia armfields writing and the dreamlike worlds she crafts for each story. her writing is just so perfect!!! this woman understands lesbian loss and yearning like nobody else!!! "cassandra, after" feels like a demo for "our wives under the sea" and it was just as sad and perfect as that book. i can't wait to see what she comes out with next.
Profile Image for Jerrie.
990 reviews130 followers
October 31, 2019
This was an excellent short story collection focused on women, their relationships, and bodily transformations. Wonderful writing and weird but intelligent stories about how women face society and are impacted by it. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Amy Noelle.
234 reviews181 followers
September 12, 2023
4.5⭐️ Julia Armfield's writing is just gorgeous. Love the majority of the stories.

Mantis 4.5⭐️
The Great Awake 4⭐️
The Collectables 3.5⭐️
Formally Feral 4⭐️
Stop Your Women’s Ears With Wax 3⭐️
Granite 4.5⭐️
Smack 4⭐️
Cassandra After 5⭐️
Salt Slow 5⭐️
Profile Image for Domenico Fina.
268 reviews79 followers
July 19, 2022
Nove racconti, almeno 4/5 sbalorditivi, i miei preferiti sono “Granito”, “Cassandra dopo”, “Mantide”.

Storie in cui ragazze più o meno dell’età dell’autrice (londinese di 29 anni, nel 2019, quando è uscito in Inghilterra) operano delle metamorfosi tra il bizzarro, il mitico, il gotico, spesso per salvarsi degli uomini, ma non sempre. Le recensioni parlano di weird, body horror a tinte dark. Io posso soltanto dire che li ho letti perché primariamente l’autrice è bravissima. Non mi capitava da tempo di leggere un esordio - nelle raccolte di racconti - così brillante e sorprendente.

Qui in basso due brani spero esemplificativi dello stile di Julia Armfield:

“Quando la donna che vive dall’altra parte della via adottò un lupo e lo portò a vivere in casa, la gente non rimase così sorpresa come ci si potrebbe immaginare. I vicini facevano cose ben più strane da anni. Mio Padre, il romanziere, adorava raccontare le storie dei vicini: la signora Brenninkmeijer viveva con un uomo di cinquant’anni più giovane che aveva bussato alla sua porta solo per consegnare un pacco, il signor Wintergarten avvelenava quasi sicuramente i cani della zona e li lasciava, imbalsamati, sulla soglia di casa dei proprietari. Mio Padre diceva che una città è interessante solo quanto le sue mele marce e sicura solo quanto i suoi pazzi. Quando io e mia sorella eravamo piccole, indicava tutte le case della via, contava con le dita e ci spiegava che per la legge delle probabilità almeno due dei vicini erano potenziali assassini. O forse lo sono già, aggiungeva, se le nostre reazioni non gli sembravano abbastanza estreme. In fase di divorzio, mia Madre menzionò l’impossibilità di vivere con un uomo che aveva un approccio alla vita così ineluttabilmente macabro. In cambio, mio padre menzionò l’approccio che mia Madre aveva verso la vita, come se la vita fosse un tizio accanto al quale era costretta a sedere in autobus.” (Dal racconto “Non più selvatico”)

“Non c’è modo di amare un uomo. Non bene, o piuttosto, cor­rettamente.
Maggie ne è consapevole ma lo ama lo stesso, un’enorme idiozia d’amore che una parte di lei vive con una sorta di dolorosa ironia. Certo che lo ami, stupida, cretina. Che cosa assolutamente idiota da fare.
Le sue amiche sono infermiere, ostetriche, fisioterapiste. Discutono dell’argomento con attenzione clinica, davanti a Chenin blanc e salatini. Gli uomini, dicono, non sono fatti per sopportare la stessa pressione interna. Si capisce dai fianchi, dal fiatone che hanno dopo una corsa. Una mancanza di resistenza anatomica. Da una prospettiva puramente fisica, è difficile amare un uomo senza distruggerlo.” (Da “Granito”)
Profile Image for Ashish Kumar.
249 reviews53 followers
June 25, 2020
2.5 stars.

Salt Slow is a collection of 9 stories, all bordering on magical realism and total "weirdism" but unfortunately I only enjoyed the first three stories ( Mantis, The Great Awake and The Collectibles) whereas the remaining were the epitome of mediocrity. Two of the stories I didn't even borthered myself to read because one was about some music fangirls ( not at all interested in that) and another was Salt Slow (which was the last story in this collection) but by the time I reached that, I ran out of patience and decided just not to read it at all. And surprisingly, I thought Formally Feral and Granite were very similar ( atleast in concept) to Ian McEwan stories. 

But I'll recommend the first three stories because they were exceptionally good. 
Profile Image for Dagio_maya .
932 reviews280 followers
June 28, 2023
”Come se il mio corpo andasse in pezzi o qualcosa cercasse di uscirne.”

La scenografia del grottesco dove corpi si smembrano, perdono la forma, mutando in altro.
Riti di passaggio, elaborazione del lutto.
Grida di rabbia, dolore, ribellione

Nove racconti: inconsueti, spiazzanti, deliranti.

Mantide ⭐⭐⭐un corpo che muta perdendo la pelle come un serpente e come una mantide, per sopravvivere, si nutre dell’Uomo..

La Grande Veglia ⭐⭐⭐”Avevo ventisette anni quando il mio Sonno uscì da me come un passeggero che scende dal vagone di un treno, si guardò intorno in camera mia per qualche secondo e si sedette sulla sedia accanto al letto.”

Pezzi da collezione ⭐⭐⭐⭐Frankestein in chiave moderna e femminista. “Pensa che uomo potremmo avere se prendessimo solo i pezzi migliori,”

Non più selvatico ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Un divorzio, due sorelle separate ed una lupacchiotta…

Tappa le orecchie delle tue donne con la cera ⭐⭐⭐Fan/Fanatiche assumono mostruose forme..

Granito ⭐⭐⭐⭐”Una specie di disgustosa perversione, l’amore.”

Schiaffo ⭐⭐⭐⭐”Lo aveva conosciuto allora, aveva visto la sua pelle di lupo mannaro sotto la superficie. “

Cassandra dopo ⭐⭐⭐⭐Dolori della morte e fantasmi che aiutano a superare la separazione..

Salmastro e lento ⭐⭐ ”Da qualche parte sui fianchi, un dolore si sprigiona, ma è solo il fantasma di un dolore, l’ombra di una cosa passata.”
Profile Image for Rebecca.
3,671 reviews2,666 followers
November 21, 2019
These nine short stories are steeped in myth and magic, but often have a realistic shell. Only gradually do the fantastical or dystopian elements emerge, with the final paragraph delivering a delicious surprise. For instance, the narrator of “Mantis” attends a Catholic girls’ school and is caught up in a typical cycle of self-loathing and obsessing over boys. It’s only at the very end that we realize her extreme skin condition is actually a metamorphosis that enables her to protect herself. The settings are split between the city and the seaside; the perspective is divided almost perfectly down the middle between the first and third person. The body is a site of transformation, or a source of grotesque relics, as in “The Collectables,” in which a PhD student starts amassing body parts she could only have acquired via grave-robbing.

Two favorites for me were “Formerly Feral,” in which a 13-year-old girl acquires a wolf as a stepsister and increasingly starts to resemble her; and the final, title story, a post-apocalyptic one in which a man and a pregnant woman are alone in a fishing boat, floating above a drowned world and living as if outside of time. This one is really rather terrifying. I also liked “Cassandra After,” in which a dead girlfriend comes back – it reminded me of Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride, which I’m currently reading for #MARM. “Stop Your Women’s Ears with Wax,” about a girl group experiencing Beatles-level fandom on a tour of the UK, felt like the odd one out to me in this collection.

Armfield’s prose is punchy, with invented verbs and condensed descriptions that just plain work: “Jenny had taken to poltergeisting round the house”; “skin like fork-clawed cottage cheese,” “the lobster shells gleam a slick vermilion” and “The sky is gory with stars.” There’s no shortage of feminist fantasy stories out there nowadays – Aimee Bender, Kelly Link, Carmen Maria Machado and Karen Russell are just a few others working in this vein – but the writing in Salt Slow really grabbed me even when the plots didn’t. I’ll be following Armfield’s career with interest.

Originally published on my blog, Bookish Beck.
Profile Image for Liina Haabu.
328 reviews274 followers
August 28, 2019
I can’t remember when was the last time I was in such awe of someone’s imagination. I don’t read sci-fi or anything that is not “real”. Not even magical realism these days. So salt slow was like a breath of fresh air. It is a collection of stories that border on the perverse, otherworldly, corporal, eerie, melancholy, depressing and I don’t know what else.

Julia Armfield’s work reminds me a bit of Shirley Jackson although it is a lot more graphic. Similarly to her, she combines the unnatural with the natural world so seamlessly and it creates great discomfort. If the book would be a feeling it would be the screeching sound chalk makes against the chalkboard or a gleaming wet octopus thrashing on the shore, difficult to watch cos it is suffering but you cannot look away either. It is all so bodily. You can feel it in your bones when reading. And there is always a small patch of mould lurking on the edge of the page.

Not only are the stories top rate bizarre the writing itself is very good as well. A superb debut, cannot wait to see what Julia Armfield will come up with next. Franky, I have no idea what to read next cos I liked it so much and everything “normal” seems so dull now. My faves from the collection were “Formerly Feral”, Granite”, “Cassandra After” and “salt slow” (the latter being exceptional.)
Profile Image for Turkey Hash.
188 reviews37 followers
September 26, 2020
Beautifully written. Granite was the strongest story for me. It captured a terrible truth about relationships without hammering it over the reader's head. It's probably the least obviously fantastical, which might have influenced my preference. But even if (like me) you're not massively into fantasy or folklore, the collection still works tremendously well. It feels so unique - the melding of the everyday of a particular kind of metropolitan life, of the concerns of contemporary feminism, with more unreal and dream-like elements. I'm not crazy about twist endings which, imo, can undo all the writer's good work by drawing attention to the general artifice (and there's a few of those here) but the telling, in all instances, is really immersive and suspenseful so it doesn't matter. The writing is also wonderful (in case that's not obvious by now). Can't wait to read the novel.
Profile Image for Blair.
1,794 reviews4,435 followers
Shelved as 'dipped-in'
June 3, 2019
I skimmed this, reading the first few pages of each story and continuing if my interest was suitably piqued. One of the stories, ‘Stop your women’s ears with wax’, is among the best I’ve read this year. It follows an all-female band on the road as, through the eyes of their videographer, they inspire obsession and violence in their young fans. It’s one of the longer stories in the book, and the extra space allows for effective background detail and texture. That, in turn, makes the weird touches feel like genuinely startling moments. Nothing else quite lives up to it, though I also enjoyed ‘The Collectables’ and ‘Granite’.
Profile Image for Melania &#x1f352;.
546 reviews87 followers
February 11, 2023
3.75|5 💧2020 TBR

I really, really like this book. I’m not a fan of short stories so this might actually be my favorite short stories collection I’ve ever read. It’s dark and twisty and I loved how all the stories were clearly feminist but in such different ways. I can’t wait to read more from the author.
Profile Image for Dawnny.
Author 1 book29 followers
November 9, 2019
Wow! I won this and wasn't sure what to make of it reading the cover. This isn't like anything I've ever read. The prose is haunting. This is dark, wildly creative and way outside the box. I loved it.
Not for the squeamish.

Novels N Latte
Hudson Valley NY
Profile Image for Kat.
206 reviews
September 29, 2019
unbelievably good — i winced and grinned and cried and felt truly and unhealthily Seen. wriggled its way under my skin.
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