The lives of three women weave together across centuries in this dazzling new novel.
Sarah, accused of being a witch, is fleeing for her life.
Ruth, in the aftermath of World War II, is navigating a new marriage and the strange waters of the local community.
Six decades later, Viv, still mourning the death of her father, is cataloging Ruth’s belongings in Ruth’s now-empty house.
As each woman’s story unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that their choices are circumscribed, in ways big and small, by the men who seek to control them. But in sisterhood there is also the possibility of survival and a new way of life. Intricately crafted and compulsively readable, The Bass Rock burns bright with love and fury—a devastating indictment of violence against women and an empowering portrait of their resilience through the ages.
About the Author
EVIE WYLD’s debut novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, was short-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Her second novel, All the Birds, Singing, won the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Encore Award and the European Union Prize for Literature, and it was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award for Best Novel. In 2013 she was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. She lives in London.
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: VOGUE • THE GUARDIAN
WINNER OF THE 2021 STELLA PRIZE
“A wondrous and disturbing novel . . . Observant, melodic, imaginative . . . Moves from comic to deeply unnerving . . . The message it leaves you with—down to its expertly chilling final line—is certainly dark. But in delivering it, Wyld consistently entertains, juggling the pleasures of several different genres.” —John Williams, The New York Times
“The most gripping thing I’ve read in ages . . . A haunted house of a novel, as intricately built as relentlessly ominous . . . It’s that rare literary novel that will give you shudders . . . Wyld is so controlled and subtle a storyteller that her themes remain elegantly beneath the surface. What carries you along is the vivid description and an atmosphere of rising dread.” —Taylor Antrim, Vogue
“An expertly layered, quietly suspenseful novel . . . This author seizes her readers with the swift grace of the wild predators she often describes, then sets them down on terrain so richly imagined it seems to fill the senses . . . [She is] a consummately sly storyteller . . . There are unmistakable echoes here of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, not only in Wyld’s subtle depiction of a woman adrift on sinister, restless tides but also in her shrewd depiction of a ruling class inured to brutality.” —Anna Mundow, Wall Street Journal
“Riveting . . . The descriptions, at times, are so powerful that you’ll have to remind yourself you’re not on the coast of Scotland walking in the freezing rain . . . Like any good gothic novel, there is a dark old house full of noises and things that go bump in the night . . . But this is not simply a gothic novel or a catalogue of horrors, there are moments of deep tenderness and even a few good laughs . . . This is a book that men need to read; we women, we already know, but we should read it too.” —Brooklyn Rail “Like Sarah Waters and Attica Locke, Hannah Kent and Celeste Ng, Evie Wyld writes novels that are fast-paced page-turners with meticulously crafted narratives.” —Chicago Review of Books “Excellent . . . The Bass Rock holds more than a little in common with Kate Atkinson . . . Also easily draws comparisons to Virginia Woolf.” —Newcity Lit (Chicago)
“A haunting survival tale that lingers long after the last page . . . Steeped in grief and teeming with ghosts, Wyld’s new novel explores violence against women throughout time . . . A sense of foreboding hangs over the novel like a shroud . . . Time and time again, Wyld artfully proves the female body knows (even if the mind won’t accept) the dangers lurking all around.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The Bass Rock is a multi-generational modern gothic triumph. It is spectacularly well-observed, profoundly disquieting, and utterly riveting. Like all Evie Wyld’s work it is startlingly insightful about psychological and physical abuse. It is a haunting, masterful novel.” —Max Porter, author of Grief Is the Thing With Feathers
“Hard to stop reading.” —Annie Bostrom, Booklist
“A gothic novel, a family saga and a ghost story rolled into one . . . Psychologically fearless . . . Searingly controlled . . . Wyld is a genius of contrasting voices and revealed connections.” —Justine Jordan, The Guardian
“The modern sections feel a little like Ali Smith’s novels crossed with the TV series Fleabag . . . There’s much to admire in its little miracles of observation . . . Wyld is also wonderful at describing moments of sudden lust and violence. And she knows how to maintain suspense, what to withhold and when to reveal it—right up to the spine-chilling last line.” —Johanna Thomas-Corr, The Sunday Times “A multilayered masterpiece; vivid, chilling, leaping jubilantly through space and time, it’s a jaw dropping novel that confirms Wyld as one of our most gifted young writers.” —Alex Preston, Observer (UK)
“Amazingly good. The Bass Rock will fill the air around you with angry ghosts and you will be glad to be in their company.” —Adam Foulds, Booker Finalist, author of The Quickening Maze “The Bass Rock is a bewitching and atmospheric novel, laced with dread. It reveals the haunted house of society, with all its echoes of damaged and extinguished lives, but is also illuminated by beautiful observation about people, and the timelessness of their capacity for both violence and empathy.” —James Scudamore, author of Heliopolis “A dark, gristly marvel of a novel. The Bass Rock held me in thrall from cover to cover. Evie Wyld is a gothic genius: her narrative of the violence inflicted on women throughout the centuries and the seething, female anger left in its wake left me with a deep sense of disquiet that will doubtless remain for years to come.” —Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rites “Written with blistering force and righteous anger, this outstanding novel will stay with me for a long time.” —Alice O’Keeffe, The Bookseller (Book of the Month)
“Wyld is the most stupendous of writers, daring, heartfelt, explosive. The Bass Rock reminds us of all her power and brilliance, it thrums with an anger it is impossible not to feel.” —Daisy Johnson, Booker Finalist, author of Everything Under
“Bewitching . . . Evie Wyld is exceptionally good at the gruesome . . . With great dexterity and style, Wyld illustrates how abuse forms a cycle that may take generations to break. The action moves seamlessly between the 1700s, the middle of the last century, and the recent past . . . The Bass Rock is beautifully written and its particular brand of macabre is all Evie Wyld’s own. The tension, foreboding and sense of inevitability are hard to shake off, even once the final page is turned. Its atmosphere is so powerful that you feel you need to go for a walk afterwards the blow the shadows away.” —Cressida Connolly, Literary Review “Evie Wyld is the author of two excellent novels but she moves up a gear with her third . . . Superbly written . . . Shockingly satisfying . . . Each of these separately lonely women are startling well drawn, yet the threads running through their lives are universal . . . The Bass Rock deserves to win prizes.” —Claire Allfree, Metro “Evie Wyld’s tremendous new novel, The Bass Rock, is a powerful and beautifully written narrative of male violence and the three women who endured it.” —William Boyd, The Telegraph “Wyld is unhesitatingly brave in her writing . . . Her delineation of the [post-war] era is cut-glass perfect . . . Her prose shines, even as it devours.” —Catherine Taylor, Financial Times
“Powerful, intensely absorbing . . . There’s more than a hint of Fleabag about the dysfunctional relationship between Viv and her elder sister, and Wyld is as gifted as Phoebe Waller-Bridge at capturing the hilarious, the excruciating and the absurd.” —Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail “Ingenious . . . Bold . . . With each novel, Wyld gets better and better.” —Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman “Wyld’s gossamer-light prose, beautiful even in its depiction of murder, brings nuance and complexity to the story . . . Wyld’s skilfully woven narrative will keep you turning towards a final, unexpected twist.” —Lucy Pavia, Evening Standard “[The] build-up of dread is excellent . . . Most powerful of all is Wyld’s evocation of a hairs-on-the-neck sense of foreboding when women interact with volatile men.” —Francesca Carington, Sunday Telegraph “A spikily beautiful novel . . . Wyld underpins the whole with a seething anger. That this doesn’t overwhelm the novel is down to some skilful storytelling.” —Siobhan Murphy, The Times
“Vivid and gripping.” —John Self, Irish Times “Powerfully done.” —Emily Rhodes, The Spectator