Dr Philippa Semper, Lecturer in Medieval English at the University of Birmingham

“This offers a vision of the future so dark it seems hopeless, and yet clings bravely to the premise that even the most twisted of situations might contain the potential for something positive – if not hope, then at least a remnant of humanity in a lost and damaged world. The characters are at once as stylised as those in the commedia dell’arte and as complex as those in any psychological thriller, and their lives are conveyed with an economy of style which treads a fine line between elegant and brutal. The complex questions it raises resonate beyond the book itself but never overwhelm the pace of the story. I’m still a little haunted by the images it showed me.”