'It's hard to believe The Weight of Loss by Sally Oliver is a debut novel because the writing and pacing are so confident and assured. Compulsive and deeply unsettling. Don't start it if you have stuff to do!'
The Weight of LossSally Oliver
‘Daring, unsettling and original, The Weight of Loss is a debut to savour.’ Victoria Gosling, author of Before the Ruins
A spine-tingling debut about grief and obsession, with a shocking twist of an ending
Marianne is still reeling from the death of her sister when she starts to exhibit some strange physical symptoms. Each day, it seems, her body betrays her a little bit more, and no one can explain to her what is going on.
Then a doctor offers her the hope of recovery – a stay in Nede, an experimental health retreat deep in the Welsh countryside. Surrounded by high walls and cut off from the outside world, it sounds like exactly what Marianne needs.
Desperate to get her life back on track, she leaves everything behind – her stressful job, her unsatisfactory relationship, her troubled family – hopeful that she finally has a chance to heal. Yet all is not as it seems at Nede. Yes, the surroundings are idyllic. Yes, the other residents seem happy. But something doesn’t feel right.
Marianne begins to lose control as she obsessively revisits the days and weeks leading up to her sister’s death. But now she must confront a more immediate threat: a dark experiment that appears to be taking over her mind, her body and her precious memories.
'I love Sally Oliver's writing... I found the whole thing addictive.'
'Daring, unsettling and original, The Weight of Loss is a debut to savour. Sally Oliver writes with startling intensity.'
'The Weight of Loss is a wrenching, viscerally weird novel of grief, longing and mortality. Perceptive, erudite and powerful, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how much I loved it!'
'Intelligent, addictive, and unsettling. Sally Oliver is a thoughtful, gorgeous writer, and this layered exploration of trauma, family, and selfhood will linger.'
'A deeply unsettling story, told at a brilliantly controlled pace and rendered in luminous prose. It's like the love child of early Ian McEwan and Nicola Barker.'
'An affecting portrait of a young life shaped by grief, set against an unnerving, surreal medical backdrop, somewhere between My Year of Rest and Relaxation and A Cure for Wellness... A remarkable, thought-provoking, vivid book.'
'Strangely ethereal, yet entirely solid and compelling, this is a unique novel that talks with startling clarity and composure about the in-between spaces, the possibilities of being, and the connection between the living and the dead.'
'The Weight of Loss is a beautifully written and intensely felt novel. Its subject matter – grief and mortality – is timeless, but its method, a startling combination of emotional realism and gothic horror, feels brand new.'
'A...reflective but ultimately engrossing thriller with a strong emotional core.’
'The Weight of Loss ripples with visceral language that conceals an ominous underbelly, ever threatening to burst free... Oliver’s prose is quite captivating. She writes with a poetic precision, deftly balancing sections with words charged with sexual and fatalistic tension in equal parts.'
'Gripping, gory and addictive... An exploration of grief and trauma in a weird health retreat where all is not as it seems.'