All the Souls
Two doctors and a folklorist meet in northern Brittany in 1898, determined to prove that leprosy still exists. But their ardour for collecting evidence draws them into a dark, watchful landscape where superstition is rife. Many of the stories in All the Souls hover round themes of ‘collecting’ and recovering the past. From poignant and dangerous obsessions with the iconic (a Romano-British figurine; a carved wooden Christ-child; a bronze angel) to direct, often puzzled conversations with ghosts, the characters in this book all strive to make contact with the impossible. A girl becomes obsessed with a figure she only sees through a Camera Obscura; an angry man strikes up a friendship with a sixth-century saint; a revenant mother by a mountain lake tries to explain herself to a grieving friend.
'A considerable achievement.' – Stevie Davies on The Breathing