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Salt Slow
Julia Armfield
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Salt Slow

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  808 ratings  ·  198 reviews
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 ...more
ebook, 176 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Flatiron Books (first published May 30th 2019)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  808 ratings  ·  198 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
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.

Update 11/5/19:

Eyyy, updating with longer story reviews a hot month after reading
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
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
Alice Lippart
Dark, twisted and very well written.
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
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
Abbie | ab_reads
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
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
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
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.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
New favourite short story collection!
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Beautiful, strange and sad short stories about love, loss and life.
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 ...more
Dec 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Salt slow
It felt like a short story collection im not sure that it meant to be. But acting as a short story collection it was good. As everything being one, no. When i started i thought it was regular fiction and was very confused it was only when i started taking each chapter as a new story did i start to enjoy it.
I really enjoyed Granite. We follow Maggie who is almost thirty and is still looking for that one true love. It was a cute story of two awkward people finding each other.
I also
This was a really strong short story collection that I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys altered realities, strange surrealism, and absurdity with a side of the grotesque.

I can see why comparisons have been made to Carmen Maria Machado, although I felt these stories were more refined - the writing more delicate and less in-your-face. I sensed a little bit of Machado, Ling Ma, Helen Phillips, Lila Savage (Say Say Say), and even some Blake Crouch elements in this collection! Truly eclectic
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
Liina Bachmann
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 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
Jaclyn Crupi
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First book on the board for 2020. I wish I had known how good and weird these stories would be. What a collection! They were the perfect companion as I cried and despaired about what we colonists have done to our planet and how dystopian my country looks and feels. I’ll despair for another day but then get back to action.
David J

Review to come.
Possibly in Michigan, London
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
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.
Never Without a Book
Happy Pub day to one of the most bizarre/fascinating/I can’t put this down, short story collections I’ve read this year.

Salt Slow by Julia Armfield is a collection of stories about women and their experiences. Throughout this collection women/adolescent become insects, men turn to stone, a city becomes insomniac and bodies are picked apart to make up better ones. Y’all these stories are WILD and shocking, I couldn’t put this down. If you enjoyed Carmen Maria Machado’s, Her Body and Other
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.
While reading these stories you will encounter a bizarre world where people lose sleep, Men turn into insects, women
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Creepy, mythology-tinted feminist body horror. Full of quiet prose and sharp edges. Subtle and succinct.
Harry McDonald
One of the best things I've read all year. Truly.
Lauren James
A collection of surreal and wonderful short stories that reminded me of one of my favourite reads from last year, Her Body and Other Parties. Feminist, magical and thoughtful.
"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.
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an AMAZING short story collection!

While I do have some qualms and will fully admit that I really loved only 5 of the 9 stories and simply liked the rest, this collection housed some truly spectacular and equally disturbing stories. Before I get started on my reviews/reactions, I do want to bring up the biggest pro and con of this collection: the writing. Armfield's writing is incredible, and her descriptions/descriptive language was done well, but sometimes the language was so dense
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'The birds are gulls and guillemots and frigatebirds; reeling and heavy-chested, the awkward cramp-necked camber of creatures grown out of their natural frames. They are over-sized, bloated to albatross proportions, wings like the canvas-backed windcheaters she remembers from days on the beach. Across the tall white scaffolding of sky, they stagger like drunks, unused to their own dimensions. They have grown, she suspects, to make up for the suddenness of water and the sink-down disappearance of ...more
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 ...more
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