Gretel works as a lexicographer, updating dictionary entries, which suits her solitary nature. But a phone call from the hospital interrupts her isolation and throws up questions from long ago. She begins to remember the private vocabulary of her childhood. She remembers other things, too: the wild years spent on the river; the strange, lonely boy who came to stay on the boat one winter; and the creature in the water – a canal thief? – swimming upstream, getting ever closer. In the end there will be nothing for Gretel to do but go back.
We welcome former resident Daisy Johnson back to Ely to celebrate her debut novel, Everything Under, a story which takes readers to a modern-day England unfamiliar to most. Meet her in the intimate setting of the bookshop at the beginning of her literary career.