All posts tagged: Grudova

The Coiled Serpent by Camilla Grudova review – stunning short stories | Fiction

It has been a banner year for Camilla Grudova. Her excellent debut novel Children of Paradise, about an eclectic group of rebellious cinema ushers, was longlisted for the Women’s prize for fiction. A few months later, she found a well-deserved spot among Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists class of 2023. The Coiled Serpent is an utterly triumphant way to see it out. Through Ceiling and Walls, the first short story in the collection, opens – as many good tales do – with a strange visitor to a strange country. The visitor is an unnamed academic, and the country an island, “one of the largest and most isolated in the world”; drizzly, moribund and awash with the tatty paraphernalia of monarchism. Sound familiar, anyone? And the story closes – as far fewer good tales do – with a monstrous cyclopic effluvium rising from the plughole of a blocked sink. This is not the only story in The Coiled Serpent that reads like an eerie burlesque on English exceptionalism. We are led through parochial museums, obsolescent …