Reviews

Praise for Bodies of Water

‘This is a harrowing novel, one that punches far beyond its weight, and in combination with Skein and Bone is an assured debut mapping out the concerns and aesthetic sensibilities of a writer who may well go on to become one of the most significant new voices in our genre.’ – Peter Tennant, Black Static # 55

‘It is in this opulent and tantalising mileau that V. H. Leslie has begun to stake her claim. She is the inheritrix of a rich tradition of writers like Poe who penned tales of the macabre, grisly visions of the forgotten flayed, the dismembered, the mutilated. But she is also a writer with a vision of her own, and the scale of that vision is at once intimate, subversive, and acutely observed…What follows is a chilling meditation – a fable, perhaps, or a myth, a ghost story complete with the creaking remains of a haunted house, or a history, rehearsing the list of the dead – on love, loss and the power of memory to drag us under.’ – Helen Marshall, award-winning author of Gifts for the One who comes After

‘Relishing in its genre coding and richly atmospheric, Bodies of Water is a fascinating debut and demonstrates the promise of V.H. Leslie as a novelist. It’s a book for reading by the fire with a blanket ready to draw around yourself as the brilliant chill sets in and takes hold.’ —Becky LeaFilm and Other Assorted Buffery

Bodies of Water is a modern Gothic masterpiece, a haunting and moving story filled with rich, tender writing and an ending that manages to be both melancholic and uplifting at the same time, it is a confident start to Leslie’s novel writing career.’ —Jim McleodGinger Nuts of Horror

‘Bodies of Water is an exercise in quiet, slow-building horror. It moves confidently between two eras in the life of Wakewater House, from the Victorian world of hydrotherapy and female ‘hysteria’ to modern London, where its protagonist, Kirsten, walks, lonely and wakeful in her converted apartment. As the novel moves inexorably forward, and we discover more about the history of Wakewater House and its inhabitants, the ‘real’ world of the twenty-first century seems to dissolve in a nightmarish swoon of shadowy women mingling with the river, and the omnipresent, slow invasion of water into the building, insidious drop by insidious drop. Reminiscent of the richly textured world of an A.S. Byatt novel, Bodies of Water presents us with a fascinating morass of feminist principles, folk tales and the female domain of water. Effortlessly written, and marvellously nuanced, this is a stunning debut novel by V.H. Leslie.’ – Tracy Fahey, author of The Unheimlich Manoeuvre

‘And, in the end, neither the heart of this book nor the nature of woman can possibly be reached, for to reach such ends would be to destroy them. The book’s ramifications shimmer on – frightful and transcendent in tidal irresistibilities.’ —Dreamcatcher

‘The writing is simply gorgeous, at times lyrical and beautiful in its simplicity, with hints of magical realism/folklore and fantasy and the tension was always present throughout. It is quite a creepy, eerie and very atmospheric read and, for someone who has never liked the water much, a damn scary one at times.’ —Book Magpie

‘Victoria Leslie’s first novel explores similar territory to her short story collection Skein and Bone, which thrilled and chilled me last year: the domestic, the liminal, thresholds between real and delusional, between land and water, between stereotypes and archetypes. The historical half of the novel presents the water cure, one of the Victorians’ many treatments promised to cure mind and body. But the modern half of the story also twists in historical research of femininity. V.H. Leslie has a way of luring us in with warm relationships and comfortable settings then unveiling the uncanny, the ghostly and the visceral beneath the surface layers.’ – William Sutton, author of the Campbell Lawless Victorian mystery novels – Historia, Magazine of the Historical Writers’ Association

Kirsty Logan’s Best Books of 2016

Praise for Skein and Bone

‘The strange and vivid worlds in V.H. Leslie’s stories have a nightmarish fairy tale quality to them.’ —Alison Moore, Man Booker shortlisted author of The Lighthouse

‘Tales of quiet unease, enigmatic, beautifully told, varied and darkly poetic. Your trepidation with a V.H. Leslie story is not that you might be disappointed but rather the thrill of just how good it is going to be.’ —Stephen Volk, author of Whitstable

‘V.H. Leslie’s fiction builds in intensity, but at the same time possesses a strange, silky kind of calm.’ —Conrad Williams, author of The Unblemished