A gripping tale of post-natal depression, this short story reads like a modern retelling of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and has much in common with Sarah Water's The Little Stranger in its realisation of psychological distress as a supernatural phenomenon.
A new mother, traumatised by an arduous labour, tries to come to terms with being abandoned as a baby by Olivia, the mother she never knew. Set in the eponymous `Strawberry Water', a mysterious 1920s country bungalow which overlooks a fast-flowing river, the story begins with a faded photograph of the woman our narrator assumes to be her mother. Spotlight is a collaboration between Creative Future, New Writing South and Myriad Editions to discover, guide and support writers who are under-represented due to mental or physical health issues, disability, race, class, gender identity or social circumstance. In the same series: Stroking Cerberus by Jacqueline Haskell; Memories of a Swedish Grandmother by Sarah Windebank; Summon by Elizabeth Ridout; Crumbs by Ana Tewson-Bozic and Cora Vincent by Georgina Aboud.
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'This dazzling series shows that if the barriers can be vaulted there is true beauty to be had from the lesser-walked streets of literature. These works are both nourishing and inspiring, and a gift to any reader.'-Kerry Hudson; 'A sensuous and strikingly visual story, this tale about motherhood is at once singular and universal. It taps into those equivocal feelings we all have about the conflicting burdens and joys of creating and supporting a tiny life, while showing us one woman's particular challenges. It is a ghost story which, even in these supposedly rational times, we completely fall into.' Julia Crouch; 'Tara Gould knows an essential truth, that ghosts exist in the darkness of the mind. And that sometimes those ghosts can exit the mind and take up residence in the world. They need to be both real, and unreal, at the same time. It is a difficult task to pull off, and Gould tackles it superbly. This beguiling and unsettling story has a very powerful effect on the reader.' Jeff Noon; 'An eerily evocative snapshot of a young woman possessed by her own lost history, The Haunting of Strawberry Water takes what should be the most secure of bonds, the relationship between mother and daughter, and transports it to a new and terrifying landscape of the uncanny.' Ian Breckon; 'Elegant and profound, this is powerful nature writing as much as it is a compelling ghost story, and an expertly handled meditation on the prickly nature of intimate relationships.' Hannah Vincent
About Tara Gould
Tara Gould studied visual arts at Brighton University and an MA at Sussex University. Her short stories have been published in anthologies including the Asham Anthology for Women Writers, and her plays have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. In 2016 she was Writer in Residence at Creative Futures. She lives in East Sussex.
The Haunting of Strawberry Water by Tara Gould
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