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The extraordinary post-apocalyptic novel written in response to Rima Staines' artwork, rooted deep in the folkloric traditions of Old Europe, and set in a wildly re-imagined Northern California

‘Exquisite: Angela Carter gone feral with Ursula le Guin. It is like a folk tale, but seen in its tattered shreds, glimpsed, but then utterly realised in language. It makes me glow; it makes my fur rise.' - Jay Griffiths

In a ruined world, what survives are the tales we tell.

Tatterdemalion is a post-apocalyptic novel rooted deep in the folkloric traditions of Old Europe, and set in a wildly re-imagined Northern California. It begins when the boy Poppy, who speaks the languages of wild things, goes east to the mountains with the wheeled and elephantine beast named Lyoobov. He is seeking answers to the mysteries of his birth, and the origins of a fallen world. Up in the glacial peaks, among a strange, mountainous people, a Juniper Tree takes Poppy deep into her roots and shows him the true stories of the people who made his world, people he thought were only myths.

Their tales span centuries, from three hundred years in the future all the way back to our present day. There, two disillusioned artists named Rose and Ash dream the beast Lyoobov up out of the very earth and watch him become a living vehicle of revolt. After them come waves of revolution, and the women, men and children who witness the Fall of the world: Margaret, who tells the story of Before from a cloister in the shattered city; Wheel, who dances as the Fool for one of the totalitarian Camps after the Fall, and her escape to the treetops; Anja, Wheel’s daughter, whose birth heralds a new era, the era of the Wild Folk, guardians of all the wild places and beings of the world that have been too long abused by human need; and the tale-telling wanderers called Bells, Perches, and Boots who carry Anja’s story far and near through the broken land.

It is through the mysterious history of Anja that Poppy begins to weave a wholeness out of all of these pieces, and to understand the story of his own past, and his place in the present. Transformation always starts, after all, with a band of outcasts, but we only know it in hindsight.

Format: Hardback | 224 pages
Dimensions: 180 x 228 x 23mm | 577g
Publication date: May 2017
Publisher: Unbound
ISBN10 1783523298
ISBN13 9781783523290

Note: this book is published by Unbound.

Sylvia Victor Linsteadt is a writer, artist and certified animal tracker. Her short fiction has been published in New California Writing, Dark Mountain, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, The Golden Key and Deathless Press. Her collection of stories, The Gray Fox Epistles, won the James D. Phelan Literary Award from the San Francisco Foundation in Fall 2014. Her published books include The Wonderments of the East Bay (Heyday, 2014), and The Lost Worlds of the Bay Area (Heyday, forthcoming 2017). From 2013 through early 2016, she ran a stories-in-the-mail business called Wild Talewort, in which she sent re-wilded myths and folktales rooted in the landscapes of California to the physical post-boxes of hundreds of subscribers around the world.

Artist Rima Staines uses paint, wood, word, music, animation, clock-making, puppetry and story to attempt to build a gate through the hedge between the worlds. Her paintings have been exhibited at shows from Scotland to France. Her artwork has appeared on book covers such as Catherynne M. Valente's Ventriloquism and in magazines such as Earthlines, Scheherezade's Bequest, The Land, Plant Healer, Taproot, Marvels & Tales, Illustration and Tiny Pencil. Her book illustrations include The Irresistible Fairy Tale: The Cultural and Social History of a Genre by Jack Zipes, Baba Yaga: The Wild Witch of the East in Russian Fairy Tales by Sibelan Forrester et al., and Dark Mountain Volumes 2, 3 & 4

Read more about the birth of Tatterdemalion and extracts from the book here.