Author(s): Carmen Marcus
'She is silent now because she is ten and she learns five new words a day and puts them in a sentence, but she has not yet reached the words for this...' Ten years old and irrepressibly curious, Ellie lives with her fisherman father, Peter, on the wild North Yorkshire coast. It's the 1980s and her mother's breakdown is discussed only in whispers, with the promise 'better by Christmas' and no further explanation. Steering by the light of her dad's sea-myths, her mum's memories of home across the water, and a fierce spirit all her own, Ellie begins to learn - in these sudden, strange circumstances - who she is and what she can become. By the time the first snowdrops show, her innocence has been shed, but at great cost. This vivacious and deeply moving novel portrays adult breakdown through the eyes of a brightly imaginative child, sensitively explores questions of responsibility and care, and, above all, celebrates the power of stories to shape, nourish and even save us.
Carmen Marcus lives in the Victorian spa town of Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Her writing has been described as 'crackling dangerously with inherited magic yet achieving contemporary vitality'. She is in much demand as a performance poet and has appeared at the Royal Festival Hall. Recently she has been commissioned by BBC Radio 3's Verb New Voices. How Saints Die is her first novel, and as a work in progress it won New Writing North's 'Northern Promise' Award.