BY ERICA MOU
TRANSLATED BY CLARISSA BOTSFORD
TLS Books of the Year 2022
Héloïse Press' Debut of the Year
A psychological portrait of all the insecurities and challenges of a young woman in a restless search for her own place in life.
Switching between different narrative modes - poetry and comedy, memoir and stream of consciousness - Thirsty Sea chronicles a day in the life of a young woman in a state of free-fall, haunted by her past, sidestepping her present, and stalked by a future she is reluctant to meet. But while Maria seems trapped in her impossible, maze-like consciousness, today, she will take control back.
"Thirsty Sea displays Mou's flair for smartly subversive and musical prose, highly original characters and distinctive metaphors." Anna Katharina Schaffner, The Times Literary Supplement
Thirsty Sea continues a tradition of simultaneously confessional and elliptical writing by women that streches from Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar to the fourth-wall busting, televisual crise de coeur Fleabag." Laura Allsop
"Thirsty Sea is a deep dive into the female psyche. It is also a linguist's paradise." The Publishing Post
"Thirsty Sea is a total triumph of cognizance, a haunting presence in its own right." Asymptote
"A poetic, rhythmic and powerful tale of guilt, Thirsty Sea is a magnificient, compelling debut." Nataliya Deleva
Erica Mou (Apulia, 1990) studied Literature, Publishing and Journalism at the University of Bari. She is an Italian singer-songwriter with numerous international awards. Thirsty Sea, winner of the Readers Award of the Lungano Literary Festival 2020, is her debut novel. Erica wrote this book in the kitchen of her rented accommodation in London.
Clarissa Botsford is a teacher, editor, literary translator, musician and Humanist celebrant living and working in Rome. About Thirsty Sea, she says: 'I was thrilled to be asked by Héloïse Press to translate their first women-in-translation project, Thirsty Sea. It feels like such a perfect fit, touching on so many aspects of my own work: Erica Mou’s prose is intrinsically musical, her narrator deeply human, with all her flaws, linguistic tics and curiosities, and her talent for turning life’s questions back-to-front as a form of relentless self-accusation. Challenges for the translator are trip-wired into the text, and the author has often given me her own suggestions as to how to dodge her booby traps. She and the publisher have allowed me
absolute freedom to adapt the text in order to preserve its intentions. It’s hard to imagine anything better!'