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Follow Me to Ground

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,508 ratings  ·  417 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 localsor Curesby 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)
Sasha No, I do not believe so. It never does mention race, however.

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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  1,508 ratings  ·  417 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. Im going to chuck because Im chicken and deserved to be fried and served at fancy Soul Food places (Im coward but still five starred fancy coward!)

Im 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 her
Amy Imogene Reads
What a twisted nightmare. A fairytale you'd never want to meet.

Writing: ★★★★★
Concept: ★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
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
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
as a reader, sometimes you come across books that feel bespoke, and this is one of mine. like Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance, its fabulism done perfectly; establishing a unique, intricately detailed world and layering it over our own. this one drew me in effortlessly with its unusual premise, breezy lyricism and immersive storytelling; transporting me deeply into its clefted bosom under some kind of hypnotic spell whilst it told the story it wanted to tell before bounding jauntily away, ...more
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
Dec 30, 2019 marked it as paused-on-hold
Recommended to Chelsea by: Mimi
Thank you Goodreads HQ for gifting me this gorgeous book! <3
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adored this the writing, the storyline, the absolute bonkers weirdness, and most of all the wonderful main character. This book is super weird and the prose is flowery enough to sometimes hide what is going on, to really, really work for me. It is also a deeply disturbing book, both in the central imagery of a ground that needs to be fed and of healers opening up their patients and then putting them into the earth to heal and in the casual horror of the main characters relationship a horror ...more
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
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 judges 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
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is a weird yet beautifully written book.

With everything going on right now, I had a hard time concentrating which diminished my enjoyment of it somewhat. I think it might have been 5 stars if I'd read it at another time.
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
Emma Garland
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ada and her father are healers. Healers of the strangest sort. Not entirely human themselves they are born from the ground. Made from natural substances. Created from nature. They live alone at the edge of the village, the only two beings of their kind. They refer to humans as cures, healing being the only time they ever have contact with them. Locals make their appointments when they are sick or hurt that are then paid for afterwards. They leave feeling better than they ever have. Ada learnt ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, edelweiss
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 dont even know how to go about describing it, because its 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.

Its like this: Ada starts out seeming like a perfectly sweet,
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. 
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 didnt 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.

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 fathers genesis remains mysterious, Ada was born of the earth, but moulded, literally and figuratively, by her father. They live on
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magical-realism
Utterly mesmerising. Wholly original. Couldn't put it down.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*Bumping my review as the book was released today and while theres some other hugely hyped books getting worlds 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 youre looking for something totally different to read! And support a fantastically talented debut author!*

Wow. Ive never read anything like this one.
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 thats 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 mustve 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 didnt work for me. lol) Heres a quick
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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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 localsor Curesby 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 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Ive seen so many reviews saying this was scary and *yawn* I beg to differ. Yes it was a good entertaining story but not something to be scared of in my opinion. ...more
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
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 Im not the best critic of this book. #notforme ...more
Andy Weston
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was put off by the medias 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.
Its a debut novel that is brief and yet quiet unsettling, with a hint of the Shirley Jackson about it. I havent read a novel with a Jackson influence for a while, when all of a sudden along
☾ 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
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Fantastic Strange...: Discussion for Follow Me to Ground 4 28 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 OBrien Award and was longlisted ...more

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