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"Lucy Wood is a sorceress. These stories unfold in a dreamy marine light, one that reveals the miraculous in the everyday. Diving Belles is a perfect name for this debut: It is guaranteed to enrapture a reader, and you'll want to come up slowly from its depths."
—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! and St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves
"What sets British writer Wood apart... is how grounded the magical element is in the reality of her stories... The magic is always embedded, not only in familiar stories from folklore, but in the personal myths of the characters' lives. Thus there is a quiet realism to even the most extraordinary events... This combination of subtle humor and everyday magic makes Diving Belles an engaging collection of contemporary folklore."
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"How easily Lucy Wood in Diving Belles makes magic. In story after story in her debut collection, a previously inert world becomes animated... If part of the exercise of magic is to remind us of the malleable texture of perception (and to awaken our child-like awe at the world), then the magic in 'Notes from the House Spirits' is a wonderful success. Throughout, Wood sprinkles a measured amount of magic, just enough so the rational self can slip away and let the reader wake up her perception and her childlike astonishment at the world again."
“Diving Belles is a lovely, absorbing collection of tales, animated by Lucy Wood's remarkable gift for evoking Cornwall as both a physical and mythic place. She is writing out of a rich tradition yet making it utterly her own.”
—Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Ms. Hempel Chronicles and Madeleine Is Sleeping
"Each year, book blurbs tell you that a thousand new writers have fresh, distinctive voices. But fresh, distinctive voices are actually very rare. Lucy Wood has one."
—Michel Faber, author of The Crimson Petal and the White
"Lucy Wood has an intensity and clarity of expression, deeply rooted in a sense of place. Her stories have a purity and strength, and an underlying human warmth; they resonate in the mind."
—Philip Hensher, author of The Northern Clemency
"These stories are brilliantly uncanny: not because of the ghosts and giants and talking birds which haunt their margins, but because of what those unsettling presences mean for the very human characters at their centre ... A startling, and startlingly good, debut."
—Jon McGregor, author of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
"These are stories from the places where magic and reality meet. It is as if the Cornish moors and coasts have whispered secrets into Lucy Wood’s ears and, in response, she has fashioned exquisite tales of mystery and humanity. In her prose, the fabulous moves across the everyday like the surf moving over the shore, shifting it in subtle measures, leaving it altered in its wake."
—Ali Shaw, author of The Girl with Glass Feet
"Wood captures something fresh, fantastical and eloquent...These stories express a distinctive voice and a gently beguiling imagination." —Kirkus "Whimsical...Lovers of fairy tales and Celtic lore will take pleasure in immersing themselves in the rich, magical world Wood’s tales inhabit." —Booklist "Aching and mystical...These are distinctively grown-up fairy tales that re-create a sense of wonder and imagination without the moral endings of their childhood counterparts, but, like them, linger in the imagination." —Publishers Weekly
“Magical and bewitching tales.”
“Wood’s finely wrought collection has touches of a benign Angela Carter and recalls the playful yet political transmogrifications of Atwood and Byatt ... Dreamily nuanced.”
"These tales are soaked in the magic and folklore of the place—but the magic is often an expression of inexpressible human emotion…Wood’s imagination is extraordinary; she has an instinct for the inner meanings of myths that echoes the great Angela Carter. Superb."
—The Times (UK)
"A vibrant new voice ... Why read it: for her distinctive voice and sense of place."
—Tatler, "Top Titles" (UK)
"Llovely and intriguing ... Wood pulls off a careful balancing act between fantasy and reality, folkloric past and prosaic present...Winsome, quirky, and sometimes enchanting, Wood’s stories seem to fish about in rock pools of imagination... Her gift… is for conjuring up gentle suspensions of disbelief."
—The Sunday Times (UK)
"Cornish folklore for the modern day, done in a beautiful, spooky way."
—Harper’s Bazaar (UK)
"This bewitching short story collection draws its power from a deft blend of Cornish folklore and everyday contemporary cares. Centered mostly around women—young women, old women, women becalmed somewhere in between—magic encroaches upon their narratives as slowly but surely as the incoming tide, so that even the most outlandish goings-on come to seem natural."
—Daily Mail (UK)
"A winning combination of spooky mystery and toast-and-tea coziness, with much warmth and tenderness."
—Metro (UK), 4/5 stars
"Cornwall’s magic casts some pretty strong spells. The stories in Lucy Wood’s debut collection have a distinctly otherworldly sensation to them—slightly surreal, steeped in enchantments and shimmering with an infusion of the area’s folklore and landscape… Wood strikes a sure and canny balance of worlds colliding and merging; her wry and gentle humor emphasizes that fusion all the more."
—Independent on Sunday (UK)
Lucy Wood grew up in Cornwall and attended Exeter University, where she completed a BA in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing. She currently lives in Cornwall.
I believe it to be well written, and for those stories that I really liked, well worth the effort.
In the service of these stories and their insights, Wood marshals a beautiful, virtuosic narrative and prose technique.
The book is a lovely enchanting collection of stories that remind me of modern fairy tales for grownups.
Beautiful tales that put you in a dreamy mood. I love how the author has reinvented and woven ancient folklore into modern tales. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Christopher A. Otto
The classical way to write a story is beginning , middle and end. These sketches, by and large, don't. They are more atmospheric and dreamlike, and ... though poetic... Read morePublished 12 months ago by B. Neswald
Lucy Wood's debut short story collection is haunting, dreamy, and so, so beautiful. I'm not familiar with Cornish folklore, but my understanding is that each of these stories... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Leah
This is a collection of short stories, all based around the area of Cornwall. Most have a touch of the fantastical/magical, ranging from a woman using a diving bell to search for... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Michelle Boytim
The book is a lovely enchanting collection of stories that remind me of modern fairy tales for grownups. They are steeped in Celtic lore and mythology. Read morePublished 21 months ago by SillyMoose
This is one of the strangest books...I tried several times to pick it up and get into it but always to no avail. Read morePublished on February 28, 2013 by Helen Matthew-Emde
Here is, essentially, my experience with this book: one) I thought, 'awww, funky cute cover!'; two) I flipped to the back and thought, 'awww, cute author! Read morePublished on September 19, 2012 by Unabridged Chick
"Diving Belles" is another one of those short story collections that is so neatly produced it's hard to find any technical faults. Read morePublished on September 4, 2012 by Biblibio
The magical premises are there. The beautiful settings are there. The author hits a homer on half of the stories and then drops some. Read morePublished on June 21, 2012 by Collie Mom