Sarah Hall, photo credit: Richard Thwaites  


Publication date: November 2019
Paperback publication date: October 2020

Sudden Traveller
Sarah Hall

Publication date: November 2019
Paperback publication date: October 2020


'Sarah Hall's stories are extraordinary. Magical. I never know where the next one will take me, but I know it will be unexpected, memorable, and built from language that crackles with energy.' Chris Power

'Hall's writing is, as ever, arresting, polished, charged with imagery, luscious and electric. Reading her in Sudden Traveller is like watching a fireworks display. “Orton”, in which a woman returns to the spot where she first lost her innocence in order to take her own life via a state-sanctioned gadget attached to her heart, has a more muted glitter. Others burn and flower unexpectedly. Always on display is a sense of concentrated, spiky, efficient power.' Philip Womack, Times Literary Supplement

'Queen of dark short fiction Sarah Hall brought us more expertly turned tales of sex, death and danger in Sudden Traveller' Guardian, Best Fiction of 2019

'Written in a poetic prose and veering into fantasy, [Sarah Hall's] fluent new collection Sudden Traveller shows her sensational trademark themes of sexuality and mortality in various shapeshifting combinations … vividly done and never less than readable, it is all a heady and viable mix of visceral and slick.' Phil Baker, Sunday Times

'If you’re one of those readers who resist short stories, then the title tale in this collection might just convince you otherwise … This meditation on attachment and mortality is at once elemental and polished, compressed and expansive. Six accompanying tales channel sci-fi, folklore and philosophy as they flit from the Lake District to Turkey, confirming that Hall is a writer at the top of her game.' Hephzibah Anderson, Mail on Sunday

'[Hall is] beloved by readers for her gorgeous lyricism and ability to delve into unexpected and illuminating tales of what it means to be human … Take each story one by one and revel in Hall’s unique voice.' Francesca Brown, Stylist

'Reading Sarah Hall’s fiction is a full-body experience … an intensely tactile, sensuous author; her words engage all five senses.' The Herald

'Sarah Hall should probably stop publishing short stories for a while to give other writers a chance. If she’s not the best short story writer in Britain, then — but why even finish that sentence? Her novels are good, but it’s in the short form that she excels, with strange, unsettling tales that have made her the only author to be shortlisted three times for the BBC National Short Story Award. (She won it once.)' John Self, The Spectator.

'With their dark sensuality, Sarah Hall’s magnifcent stories have always had an unsettling quality, but her new collection, Sudden Traveller, is a particularly slinking, crepuscular beast.' The Telegraph

'The third collection from one of the finest writers of short stories in English spans grief, parenthood and women’s agency ... and reward rereading.' Financial Times, Books of the Year

'To enter into a world created by Sarah Hall is to step into a landscape that is feral and alive ... it’s a voice, fierce and unapologetic, uniquely her own ... Teetering on a precipice of menace, the stories in this collection don’t seek to offer easy answers, only some solace in a shared human condition.' Mia Levitin, Financial Times.

'It’s hard to believe that Sudden Traveller is only Sarah Hall’s third short fiction collection. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize as a novelist, Hall seems to have made the short story genre explicitly her own since The Beautiful Indifference was published in 2011, followed by Madame Zero in 2017. In between, she won the 2013 BBC National Short Story award for “Mrs Fox”, a disconcerting tale of anthropomorphosis that managed to be both radical and tender in its delivery. Altered states very much continue to be Hall’s theme in this new book. Her characters are not simply changed – through trauma, experience, or memory – they are turned inside out, physically and psychologically ... Hall’s most personal and beautiful work yet' Catherine Taylor, New Statesman.

'Sarah Hall is one of our most influential short story writers. Echoes of her dark magic realism, eco-apocalyptic landscapes, coolly sexual heroines and coiled, restrained, blackly ironic narrative voices are everywhere in the work of emerging writers.' Kate Clanchy, The Guardian.

'One of the trickiest puzzles short story writers face is how to get readers to care about their characters ... Against this backdrop, the level of engagement Sarah Hall achieves in some of the stories in her latest collection Sudden Traveller, is staggering' Roger Cox, The Scotsman.

'No one writes stories the way Sarah Hall does and quite possibly no one ever will. Astonishing, miraculous, a gift.' Daisy Johnson

'The writing is luminous from the first page ... Slipping seamlessly between fantasy and reality, it is an ambitious, powerful and, at times, deeply unsettling book.' Observer

'Hall's prose is characteristically lyrical and luminous ... [The collection] builds compelling atmospheres of knowledge, nostalgia and experience, reflecting on our place in the bewildered patterning of time and roads.' The Arts Desk

Sudden Traveller is Sarah Hall’s third story collection. Featuring her signature themes of identity, eroticism and existential quest, these new stories travel far afield in location and ambition.

From Turkish forests to rain-drenched Cumbrian villages, Hall’s characters walk, drive, dream and fly, trying to reconcile themselves with their journeys through life, death, and love. Science fiction meets folktale and philosophy meets mortality.

A woman with a new generation of pacemaker chooses to shut it down in the Lakeland, the site of her strongest memories; a man repatriated in the near east hears the name of an old love called and must unpack history’s dark suitcase; from the new world-waves of female anger and resistance, a mythical creature evolves; and in the woods on the border between warring countries, an old well facilitates a dictator’s downfall, before he gains power.

In what has become her most powerful form of narration, Hall opens channels in the human mind and spirit and stands with the reader at the very edge of our possible selves.

Sudden Traveller US cover Sudden Traveller Sudden Traveller was shortlisted for the BBC short story award 2018.

Reading events for Sudden Traveller (details to follow):
5th December - The Book Hive, Norwich
23rd December - Sam Read Bookseller, Grasmere

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