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Follow Me to Ground

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,082 ratings  ·  333 reviews
A haunted, surreal debut novel about an otherworldly young woman, her father, and her lover that culminates in a shocking moment of betrayal—one that upends our understanding of power, predation, and agency.

Ada and her father, touched by the power to heal illness, live on the edge of a village where they help sick locals—or “Cures”—by cracking open their damaged bodies or
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Scribner (first published May 31st 2018)
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Natalie Yes - the "sexual" content is fantastical and part of the world that Rainsford creates; it's akin to how Toni Morrison writes sex, which I think is…moreYes - the "sexual" content is fantastical and part of the world that Rainsford creates; it's akin to how Toni Morrison writes sex, which I think is entirely appropriate for a mature high schooler. It's a little bit gory but the gore is described with otherworldly language.(less)

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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,082 ratings  ·  333 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is crazy! This is disturbing! This is really scary!
I want to put in the freezer! I want to hide myself in the closet and count to 5 million to get rid of the damage the book gave me. I’m going to chuck because I’m chicken and deserved to be fried and served at fancy Soul Food places (I’m coward but still five starred fancy coward!)

I’m giving four stars and praying loudly (already I organized my own congregation circling me because of my usage of so many holly words) the spirits of Ada and
Amy Imogene Reads
What a twisted nightmare. A fairy tale you'd never want to meet.

Warnings?: Very graphic in the medical sense

I almost hesitated to rate this the full 5 stars because it's such a twisted speculative novel, but at the same time I think it's one of the most singular things I've ever read, so sue me. I loved it.

Follow Me to Ground is witchy, spooky, medically graphic, and disturbing. It follows the life of two non-humans, a father and a daughter, who live in a fairy
Gumble's Yard
Re-read following its long listing for the 2019 Republic of Consciousness Prize and now longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize.

Now that she was open the room had filled up with the tearing sound, the clotting was given off a smell of blueberries left to long on the stove. I started humming, feeling my way towards the pitch of her hurt. The baby was sleeping; I could see its little shoulders through the curtain of her womb when I lifted the bladder aside.

Once the humming and the tearing
Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach
Follow Me to Ground has to be one of the strangest books I have ever read... but I loved it. The author's writing was beautiful, and the story was so different. Once I started it, I read it every second I had a chance until it was done.

I would have liked more explanation about everything (literally everything) but I think that is part of the magic and the draw of this book.

And that cover!
Chelsea Humphrey
Jan 08, 2020 marked it as paused-on-hold
Recommended to Chelsea by: Mimi
Thank you Goodreads HQ for gifting me this gorgeous book! <3
Paul Fulcher
Now longlisted for the 2019 Desmond Elliot Prize

I peeled back the wet slap of her womb. The baby was still in evidence, like the unevenness to grass where some animal has stopped to graze.

Longlisted for the 2019 Republic of Consciousness Prize

The judge’s nomination:
Sue Rainsford achieves something quite uncanny: believability. Her characters are not human (as “normally conceived”) but human-like creatures who live on the edge of a village and tend to the sick and dying by burying them in the
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Meet Ada and her father. Unlike you and me, they're not Cures - people who come to them to be fixed, people who come to them for a nice rest in the Ground. No, they're not even really very like us, but given the work they do, most folks are willing to overlook it.

This was a very odd, visceral sort of a book, and though it's short, I think it's the perfect length. It's unsettling and a little ambiguous throughout, but details and certainty would have ruined this particular story - if
Renee Godding
5/5 stars

I had no idea what I was getting into when starting Follow me to Ground, and I won't lie: throughout the first 50 pages I was utterly lost. This incredibly unique magical realism debut shifts the balance between familiar and alien far towards the latter, with its story surrounding a not-quite-human father and daughter, using something between witchcraft, magic and medicine to heal the sick in their neighbouring village. It had me confused and a little unsettled at first, but it pulled
Eric Anderson
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ada and her father live a self-contained existence and run a highly unusual healing practice. While they may appear human they are not as Ada was born from the Ground and at night her father shifts into a wild carnivorous animal who hunts on all fours. Since she is not biologically a female when Ada takes a local man as a lover she literally must grow genitals in order to consummate their relationship. “Follow Me To Ground” could be described as a book of magical realism or a debut novel which ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh wow, that was unsettling.

Review to come.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am retroactively bumping it backup to 4 stars now that I am over the ending.

This book is so weird. I mean that in the best way possible. I don’t even know how to go about describing it, because it’s just that weird. Witchy healer does witchy things? Witchy healer starts an affair with a guy who might not be so upstanding himself and chaos ensues? Is she good? Is she not so good? No one knows. Certainly not this reader.

It’s like this: Ada starts out seeming like a perfectly sweet, innocent
Longlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2019

My penultimate book from the RofC longlist and the strangest one yet. It is unquestionably highly imaginative and well written, but the whole thing is a little too distanced from reality for my taste, like a magic realist nightmare without the realism.

Fortunately, my Mookse group friends have already written detailed reviews that saw more in it than I did, so I recommend these by Paul, Gumble's Yard and Neil.
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, 2019-rofc
I opened this novel with no idea what it was about and with no knowledge of the author. Part of the reason I didn’t know the author is that (I have since discovered) this is her first novel although she has written about many other books.

Having now read the book, I have to say that I think coming at it with no prior knowledge might be the best way to experience it. For that reason, I am going to try to avoid details of the plot apart from maybe a bit of scene setting that might creep in.

The Captain
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Ahoy there me mateys! I received a copy of this fantasy eArc from the publisher in exchange for me honest musings . . .

This book is strange, wonderful, otherworldly, and hard to categorize. Literary fiction? Fantasy? Magical realism? Horror? Depends on the reader. I don't know who to recommend this book to but I loved it. The basic premise is that there is a person, Ada, who isn't completely human. She lives with her father who isn't human either. Both of them are from the Ground. They partially
Frank Phillips
Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Listened to this one on audio-book in less than a day. Very unique, original, crazy, far out there story. Maybe because I listened on audio and didn't absorb every single word, but I was very confused with this one, especially towards the end. Not really sure what happened the last few chapters, and maybe that was intentional, not sure. Sometimes there can be weird and original with it still being a successful read, but there's a thin line to where it's just too bizarre to the extent it's not ...more
Callum McLaughlin
From its beguiling synopsis, I expected something more than a little odd when I ventured into Follow Me To Ground, but I was certainly not prepared for a reading experience so startlingly singular.

The fabulist elements found here are far more literal than I was anticipating, and this may prove alienating for some. Ada and her father are not quite human. Though her father’s genesis remains mysterious, Ada was born of the earth, but moulded, literally and figuratively, by her father. They live on
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*Bumping my review as the book was released today and while there’s some other hugely hyped books getting world’s of attention right now, this was such an exciting and unique read in not seeing getting much attention and it truly deserves it! And as I mentioned in my review, I would love to discuss this one with other readers. Check this one out if you’re looking for something totally different to read! And support a fantastically talented debut author!*

Wow. I’ve never read anything like this
Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)
Follow Me to Ground

I am not sure what to make of this book. It was strange yet poetic. It was disturbing yet enthralling. Sue Rainsford delivers beautiful prose and a nightmarish story of loneliness, lust, want, and hope. Miss Ada and her father are healers and come from Ground (you have to read the book to understand what this means). Ada falls for a man, but her father does not agree. The conflict leads to deceit, lies, and lost. This is a dark exploration of what someone is willing to do to love and to be
The Artisan Geek
Jan 17, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: bookcase
Thank you so much Scribner for coming through and gifting me a copy of this book! Can't wait to get started!!

You can find me on
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Jan 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
I didn't understand anything that was happening in this book. It seemed like a cool idea. People with magical healing abilities where they can essentially perform surgery without cutting the patient open. Or did they cut them open? I didn't understand that part either.

I didn't like the writing or any of the characters. I feel like the author was trying to get some sort of point across, but I have no idea what that was. I'm sure I'll forget that I read this book at all.
Dec 19, 2019 marked it as dnf
Shelves: arcs-netgalley
DNF @ 29%

This is one of those books that’s going to be amazing for a certain kind of reader. I am not that certain kind of reader. This was magical realism with a dash of weirdness but the more you keep reading you realize that the lid must’ve come off and the whole bottle of weirdness ended up in there. The utter strangeness of this reminded me a lot of The Library at Mount Char, so if you were a fan of that, definitely pick this one up. (That one also didn’t work for me. lol) Here’s a quick
Karen Kay
I received this from for a review.

"Ada and her father, touched by the power to heal illness, live on the edge of a village where they help sick locals—or “Cures”—by cracking open their damaged bodies or temporarily burying them in the reviving, dangerous Ground nearby. "

Fantastical, off-beat, just plain weird. Be ready to extend your concept of reality.

Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roc-2019
Somehow this managed to press all the wrong buttons for me. I read the first 100 pages carefully after which I skimmed the last 100 (life is too short etc.), so I’m not the best critic of this book. #notforme
Samantha Marie
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magical-realism
Utterly mesmerising. Wholly original. Couldn't put it down.
☾ h a d e e r ☽
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
This was...weird, in a way that settles under your skin and gives you goosebumps. I'm not quite sure what to make of this book, which clearly longs to be dissected for metaphor and allusion, but ultimately doesn't seem to be quite certain what point, precisely, it is trying to make. I enjoyed the creepy undertones, the hints at disturbing relationship dynamics, and the elements of body horror, and the book is a quick, enjoyable read, but I just don't know that I it? I didn't dislike ...more
Andy Weston
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was put off by the media’s summaries of this novel, but wrongly so. The magic-realism / surreality/ fantasy aspects are overplayed, but cynically I suppose they must help sell it to some..
I would have played up the horror aspect, indeed it fits nicely with the recent growth in novels dealing with folklore.
It’s a debut novel that is brief and yet quiet unsettling, with a hint of the Shirley Jackson about it. I haven’t read a novel with a Jackson influence for a while, when all of a sudden
Michelle Kenneth -
I really don't know how to rate this book. The beginning of the book was beautifully written. The lines were poetic. The imagery was tantalizingly colorful.

But the story? It was like walking through a very strange dream. Maybe it was a nightmare?

I don't even know how to explain what I read. It was just so strange.

If you're asking why I didn't eventually DNF this book, this story isn't the type you DNF. You keep going. This was not a train wreck (one of the main reasons why anyone should DNF),
Chris Haak
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful debut novel by an excellent writer. 'Follow Me to Ground' is very strange but truly believable and beautifully written!
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Strange and weirdly haunting.
Depression has taken over me and I refuse to leave my bed unless it’s to reheat the same cup of tea I’ve been nursing for hours.
I wanted a book to reflect my dismal mood and mother of god is this it.
Disturbing and poetically lilting, Follow Me to Ground is a gothic Grey’s Anatomy sprinkled with a fairy tale.
Ada and her father are healers who quite literally put Cures into the ground to heal them.
The descriptions of what ails the patient can get very graphic which I
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
"Sick is sick is sick. It's got to go somewhere."

Ada and her father live in the woods. They're not like the others.
They can cure people of whatever ails them, so they get many visitors to their home.
One of those visitors might be putting everything that Ada's father has built for them at risk - but will Ada see this in time?

I saw this mentioned on a Buzzfeed list of books to watch out for in 2020 and requested it from the library knowing little to nothing about it - it absolutely blew me away.
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Fantastic Strange...: Discussion for Follow Me to Ground 4 21 Feb 08, 2020 11:10PM  

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Sue Rainsford is a fiction and arts writer based in Dublin. A graduate of Trinity College, she completed her MFA in writing and literature at Bennington College, Vermont. She is a recipient of the VAI/DCC Critical Writing Award, the Arts Council Literature Bursary Award, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. When it was first published, Follow Me to Ground won the Kate O’Brien Award and was ...more