When Nell Stevens was given the opportunity to spend three months in a location of her choice in order to write her novel, she was determined to rid herself of all distractions. So Nell decided to travel to Bleaker Island (official population: two) in the Falklands, where she would write 2,500 words a day.
But Bleaker House is not that novel. Instead this is a book about a young woman realising that the way to writing fiction doesn't necessarily lie in total solitude and a clear plan. Nor does it lie in a daily ration of 1,085 calories, no means of contacting the outside world and a slow descent towards something that feels worryingly like madness....
Hilariously funny, painfully honest and beautifully observed, Bleaker House is part memoir, part travelogue, part story collection. It is an exploration of the narrow spaces between real life and fiction and, in the end, a book about failing to write a novel but finally becoming a writer.
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Thanks to Nell...
... for writing this book (and starting so many others, how did they all end?) and for reading it to us. Having a book read out by the author is certainly a bonus.