“A beautiful, hallucinatory dream of a novel.” –J.M. Miro, Author of the National Bestseller Ordinary Monsters
“A fantastically moody, unsettling novel."–Sarah Waters, New York Times bestselling author of The Paying Guests and Fingersmith
A "bold ... hypnotic" (The New Yorker) reimagining of Mary Shelley’s youth, vividly exploring innocence, young love, gothic mystery and the roots of her literary masterpiece, Frankenstein.
Switzerland, 1816. A volcanic eruption in Indonesia envelopes the whole of Europe in ash and cloud. Amid this “year without a summer,” eighteen-year-old Mary Shelley and her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley arrive at Lake Geneva to visit Lord Byron and his companion John Polidori. Anguished by the recent loss of her child, Mary spends her days in strife. But come nightfall, the friends while away rainy wine-soaked evenings gathered around the fireplace, exchanging stories. One famous evening, Byron issues a challenge to write the best ghost story. Contemplating what to write, Mary recalls another summer, when she was fourteen…
Scotland, 1812. A guest of the Baxter family, Mary arrives in Dundee, befriending young Isabella Baxter. The girls soon spend hours together wandering through fields and forests, concocting tales about mythical Scottish creatures, ghosts and monsters roaming the lowlands. As their bond deepens, Mary and Isabella’s feelings for each other intensify. But someone has been watching them—the charismatic and vaguely sinister Mr. Booth, Isabella's older brother-in-law, who may not be as benevolent as he purports to be…
With gripping mastery and verve, Anne Eekhout brings to life a defining moment in Mary Shelley’s youth: the creative wellspring for one of the most original, thrilling, and timeless pieces of literature ever written. Provocative, wonderfully atmospheric and pulsing with emotion, Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein is a hypnotic ode to the power of imagination.
Translated from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson
About the Author
Anne Eekhout is the author of the novels Dogma, which was nominated for the Bronzen Uil Prize for best debut; One Night, which was nominated for the BNG Literature Prize; and Nicolas and the Disappearance of the World, which was selected as the Best Book for Young Adults. She lives in the Netherlands.
"A beautiful, hallucinatory dream of a novel, Anne Eekhout's Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein brings Mary Shelley back to life with a brilliant intensity. This is a marvelous book about desire, and love, and the dark mysteries of the creative act." — J.M. Miro, author of the National Bestseller Ordinary Monsters
“A fantastically moody, unsettling novel, with a teasing, enigmatic atmosphere entirely its own." — Sarah Waters, New York Times bestselling author of The Paying Guests and Fingersmith
"Eekhout’s [Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein]… offers a bold new framing for questions about where we draw lines: between queerness and heterosexuality, the natural and the unnatural, and the imaginary and the real… The narrative unfolds in hypnotic language steeped in fantasy and allusion, poetically translated from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson." — New Yorker
“Passionate, brooding, and alive!” — CBS Sunday Morning
"A literary creation story as bold, terrifying, and riveting as Frankenstein itself." — Laurie Lico Albanese, Author of Hester
“Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein is a nuanced, beautifully atmospheric portrayal of a young woman’s intense inner life, foreshadowing Frankenstein's themes of grief, loneliness, and the desire for love. — Booklist
"Intensely lyrical and powerfully haunting… Sublime storytelling and Gothic fiction at its very best!" — Susan Stokes-Chapman, Author of Pandora
"Rich, intricate and beguiling, this is a novel of enormous insight, great heart and incredible skill. Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein has so much to tell us about grief, fear, love and imagination. I will return to it often." — Nell Stevens, author of Briefly, A Delicious Life
"A novel that tiptoes and whispers, woos and caresses like the darkest of fairytales. Laudanum and love, wild imaginations and haunted hearts; I was bewitched by this profound and pleasurable imagining of Mary Shelley and the Birth of Frankenstein." — Joanne Burn, author of The Hemlock Cure
"“Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein will appeal to all fans of Mary Shelley and stands equally strong as a fine piece of historical fiction.”" — Bookreporter.com