Since winning the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize in May, Catherine Chanter’s talent has been recognised many times over. As a result of being shortlisted, Catherine was introduced to, and signed up by, Literary Agent, Nelle Andrew of Peters, Fraser & Dunlop. PFD chose well. At the recent Frankfurt Book fair, her entry, The Well, was bought for a substantial pre-empt by Editorial Director, Louisa Joyner and Jamie Byng at Canongate and Michael Heyward at Text.
Louisa Joyner said: “I keep having to pinch myself to believe that we really have acquired The Well by the remarkably talented Catherine Chanter. The Well is a novel of enormous power. It combines the unputdownable pace of Before I go to Sleep with the emotional pull of The Outcast and the literary quality of early Atwood, and for it to be my first acquisition at Canongate makes it all the more exciting.’
Michael Heyward of Text Publishing was similarly impressed. “I read The Well in a kind of trance, desperate to race ahead, but wanting to savour its sentences at the same time. Gorgeously written and fiendishly constructed, this seductive and creepy novel with its backdrop of weird weather and its cast of lost souls is about what happens when escape into rural bliss becomes a nightmare. With her eye for the unexpected word and for the phrase that tightens the screw, Catherine Chanter has written an astonishing novel, and I suspect that reading it is going to become something of a cultish activity.”
Daniel Loedel, the acquiring editor for S&S in the US added his praise. “The Well is a remarkably assured and original first novel, at once a haunting page-turner and a deeply-felt exploration of the mysterious connection between people and the places they call home.”
About the book
Catherine’s novel tells the story of a modern day Britain where it has not rained for three years except on a piece of farmland known as The Well. A high-concept literary tour de force wrapped up in a thrilling who-dunnit, it follows the story of Ruth, the owner of the land and her husband Mark as they deal with the blessing and curse of rain in the face of a nationwide drought and the devastating effect it has on their marriage, their home and the very lives of their family as they are thrown into peril.