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salt slow

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  306 ratings  ·  80 reviews
A Most Anticipated Book (Time, Esquire, Buzzfeed, Refinery29)

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 d
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Hardcover, 208 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Flatiron Books (first published May 30th 2019)
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Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  306 ratings  ·  80 reviews


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Amalia Gavea
‘’At night, I fall asleep in shreddings and tatterings, my dreams shot through with shouts of violence, bitter notches like bad beads on a rosary. In the still-dark of early morning, I wake to wonder at my face in the wardrobe mirror. Beneath the white flesh of my forehead, my eyes seem further apart from before.’’

I cannot do justice to this collection. Not in the slightest. I cannot put my admiration, my love for it into words. Nine stories that haunted me, nine characters that became strange
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Renee Godding
“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
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Cinzia DuBois
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 deep
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Alice Lippart
Dark, twisted and very well written.
Lotte
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 thi
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Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
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.
Abbie | ab_reads
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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?
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I was in love from the first story, a raw and painful portrayal of the relationship between young girls and their bodies, the c
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Liina Bachmann
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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
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Patricia Highsmith's Snail
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 m ...more
Kat
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
unbelievably good — i winced and grinned and cried and felt truly and unhealthily Seen. wriggled its way under my skin.
MRIDULA
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very often does it happen that I jump into a book without expectations. And Salt Slow is one such book. The title gives away nothing but an abstract feeling and the stories in this collection are rightly so- abstract, whimsical and memorable. The stories are mainly about women and their position in society. The prejudices, constant judgment and shunning of women who are different.
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While reading these stories you will encounter a bizarre world where people lose sleep, Men turn into insects, women
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Blair
Jun 03, 2019 marked it as attempted  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jessica
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘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. This was before they became so usual, the shadow-forms of Sleep in halls and kitchens, before the mass displacement left so many people wakeful at uncertain hours of the night. In those days, it was still surprising to sit up and see the silver lean of Sleep, its casual posture. People rang one another, apologising for t ...more
Leah Rachel von Essen
Salt Slow is a beautiful short story collection full of strange, haunting stories featuring obstinate women, many of them queer.

"The Great Awake," as an insomniac, was a favorite of mine: people's Sleeps begin to step out of them, becoming independent entities and making it so that they no longer sleep at night. Some people crave a Sleep of their own, feeling they're missing out by needing to rest, while others desperately want their sleep back to fulfill a psychological need. In "The Collectibl
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Heather
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant collection of the strange and unsettling; intimate moments made bizarre, transformations occurring before our eyes, the body let loose. I loved these so much—especially first story Mantis, but all stories throughout.
Julie
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All the stars

I dreamed about this book

For fans of Nimona, for monster girls
Jackie
"My mouth is wide with anticipation. Not for kissing but for something more in keeping with my genes."


One of my favourite short story collections. I read this earlier this month and can't stop thinking about it. It definitely deserves the 5 stars. I can't wait to see what Julia Armfield does next.
Cat {Wild Night In}
The Guardian's review and interview with Armfield were really interesting. I especially loved her idea of reclaiming the "Other": “The queer character has been so traditionally coded and designated as the monstrous,” says Armfield. “And I think I was trying to reclaim that monster. There’s freedom in the monster being the norm and not the other.”

But obviously that's a pretty big step to take in story telling, so I wasn't really holding my breath. After having read the 9 short stories, I can say
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Louisa Jones
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well named and well written. Salty, slippery, gritty and gently subversive.

Like a spinning eight year old in love with herself and the way her body moves in the world - brimming with abandon, complete.

Inspiring, even the gross bits (especially the gross bits!).
Bouch The Bookworm
This is a 3.5 Star review because I'm rather beguiled by these stories and sometimes even I want a book to be wrapped up in a neat little bow for me.

Salt Slow is a collection of 9 stories that will haunt you. With the lyrical prose, the assumed intelligence and the need to read for yourself what is actually happening, the stories will say with you forever. I really liked them all except the last one which was great but confronting for me.

I've spent the time since reading each story exploring the
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Bah Humpug
This is hard for me to rate because while I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of short stories, it doesn't beat my favorite collection this year, A Mouthful of Birds, by Samanta Schweblin, which I also have 4 stars. Each of the stories slowly and delicately unfolds, exposing its secrets and horrors. However, there were times when I wished for a little more, a small push towards more eerie surrealness. Oddly enough, the more popular stories (The Great Awake and Stop Your Women's Ears with Wax) w ...more
Becca
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book of short stories unlike ever I have read before. Bursting with all types of different female characters from Girls that are sisters with wolves to a woman going through a Divorce to a female band who soar to popularity and create a cult flock of teenage girl fans.

Everyone has their favourite story and it's hard to pick as each is very different from the next. Full of magical realism, eerie and marcarbe, dystopia and real topics. These stories ouze human experience and emotions but particu
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Jo
It feels as though there is a relatively huge selection of short story collections by women around at the moment that are queer, diverse and fucking weird. This fills me with joy and I hope it continues as a trend.

This one is a slim volume; only 9 stories, and not as rage-filled as some of the others I've recently read (that's not to say there isn't any anger here). "Stop your women's ears with wax" was my favourite by far but I really enjoyed all of them
Claire The Bristol Reader
Isn't it brilliant when a book lives up to the hype?

Salt Slow is a collection of monstrously beautiful short stories by Julia Armfield.

They're creepy. Sinister. Close to the bone. They focus on women and their bodies; all the intimate secrets of life and death.

Julia Armfield manages to make the everyday occurrences of ordinary life shimmer with unexpected horrors, in a similar way to Shirley Jackson's masterpieces. I've also seen her compared to Mariana Enriquez.

This is what I really love about
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Elle (theartfulelle)
3.5 rounded up to 4....thoughts to follow....
Amelia
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I impulse bought Salt Slow by Julia Armfield for a holiday read and I'm so glad I ignored my huge to read pile for this new magical realism release which is one of my favourite books of the year.

Salt Slow collects gruesome short stories about women with monstrous sides. A teenage girl with skin problems turns into a preying mantis at her first kiss, a woman surviving the watery end of the world gives birth to something of the sea, jilted girlfriends hunt for body parts to make the perfect boyfri
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Andrienne
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nine stories that involve some kind of transformation, physical or otherwise. Enthralling, unsettling and poignant. Each story has plenty to unpack and goes to the heart and meat of the story, great for fans of Carmen Maria Machado and Samantha Hunt. The stories will linger and possibly instill a longing for a reread because they are that good.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.
Laura King
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Salt Slow is an amazingly accomplished collection from debut author Julia Armfield winner of the White Review short story prize for 'The Great Awake'. I didn't really get how brilliant that story was until I read it in the context of the collection, which is full of unsettling stories, which are calm on the surface with something sinister underneath, incredible stories of the body and the skin we shed (literally, in the first story), and how monsterous our bodies and desires can feel. My favouri ...more
Soph
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, queer
just monstrously gorgeous
Caoilinn
In the tradition of Kelly Link and Aimee Bender, Julia Armfield's SALT SLOW places a surrealist lens on women's bodies, interactions and relationships to expose their mythic, metamorphic potential. Subversive in viewpoint, these stories achieve a simplicity and crispness of tone, setting and story that gives them the timeless, evocative quality of fables.
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“In the midst of all these haunted people, she sat alone, without a ghost yet longing for one, her writing like a clasp of fingers around empty air.” 1 likes
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