Following on from the rapturously-received paperback editions of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy last month, here’s another novel that’s just as beautiful in paperback as it is in hardback – Scott Blackwood’s mesmerisingly written account of a triple murder and its legacy, See How Small.
One late autumn evening in a Texas town, two strangers walk into an ice cream shop shortly before closing time. They bind up the three teenage girls who are working the counter, set fire to the shop, and disappear. See How Small tells the stories of the survivors – family, witnesses, and suspects – who must endure in the wake of atrocity. Justice remains elusive in their world, human connection tenuous.
Hovering above the aftermath of their deaths are the three girls. They watch over the town and make occasional visitations, trying to connect with and prod to life those they left behind. ‘See how small a thing it is that keeps us apart,’ they say. A master of compression and lyrical precision, Scott Blackwood has surpassed himself with this haunting, beautiful, and enormously powerful new novel.
The cover, designed by Jo Walker, Deputy Art Director at 4th Estate, expertly captures the hazy, dreamlike atmosphere of the novel. Like the novel, the style at first seems alluring and beautiful, but a cursory glance at the blurb gives it a harrowing edge. The three murdered girls are all present, lying on a lush, petal-strewn lawn. But as in the novel, they are frustratingly out of reach – we do not see their faces, only their limbs. And, as in the novel, they seem to be half lying on the lawn, half floating above it. On the cover and in the novel’s pages, the girls are the focus, yet frustratingly out of reach.
See How Small is published by 4th Estate on 24th September 2015.
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