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Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World
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Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World


On a frozen island in the Falklands, with only penguins for company, a young would-be writer struggles to craft a debut novel...and instead writes a funny, clever, moving memoir that heralds the arrival of a fresh new literary talent.

Twenty-seven-year-old Nell Stevens was determined to write a novel, but somehow life kept getting in the way. Then came an irresistible opportunity: she won a fellowship to spend three months, all expenses paid, anywhere in the world to research and write a book. Did she choose a glittering metropolis, a romantic village, an exotic paradise? Um, no. Nell chose Bleaker Island, a snowy, windswept pile of rock off the Falklands. There, in a guesthouse where she would be the only guest, she imagined she could finally rid herself of distractions and write her 2,500 words a day. In three months, surely she'd have a novel, right?

It's true that there aren't many distractions on Bleaker, other than sheep, penguins, paranoia and the weather. But as Nell gets to work on her novel--a delightful Dickensian fiction she calls Bleaker House--she discovers that an excruciatingly erratic Internet connection and 1100 calories a day (as much food as she could carry in her suitcase, budgeted to the raisin) are far from ideal conditions for literary production. With deft humour, this memoir traces Nell's island days and slowly reveals details of the life and people she has left behind in pursuit of her art. They pop up in her novel, as well, as memoir and novel start to reflect one another. It seems that there is nowhere Nell can run--neither a remote island nor the pages of her notebook--to escape herself.

A whimsical, entertaining, thought-provoking blend of memoir and travelogue, laced with tongue-in-cheek writing advice, Bleaker House brilliantly captures the hopes, fears, self-torture and humour of being young and yearning to make a creative life. With winning honesty and wit, Nell's race to finish her book emerges as a fascinating narrative in its own right.

Title:Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:256 pages
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    Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World Reviews

  • Diane S ?
    Mar 15, 2017

    Offered an amazing opportunity to travel anywhere, spend time writing, Neil chooses the Falklands. This setting the attraction for me in wanting to read this book. A place I have not read much about, ...

  • Rebecca Foster
    Dec 20, 2016

    Like the Charlie Kaufman film Adaptation or Geoff Dyer’s Out of Sheer Rage, this is about trying but failing to write the project one has set for oneself – but documenting the journey anyway. Nell...

  • Chessa
    Nov 30, 2016

    First up, I feel like I owe this book an apology: I have been really super distractible with anxiety since the election, and I can basically only stand to read escapist type stuff. But I received a ga...

  • Book Riot Community
    Nov 17, 2016

    I’ve had a lot of other reading to do this month, but this book was one of those where you pick it up just to check it out…and suddenly you’re a hundred pages in. It’s a memoir about Nell Stev...

  • Audra (Unabridged Chick)
    Mar 05, 2017

    Pretty much the moment I laid eyes on the cover of this book, I knew I wanted to read it. And then when I learned the premise -- a memoir of a novelist who spent three months on an isolated island in ...

  • Michelle
    Apr 14, 2017

    In general, I think memoirs are best told by writers who have a few decades under their belts. It takes a degree of intellectual rigor and self-depecration to pull off the introspection of a memoir wi...

  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    Jun 25, 2017

    It's a fun premise for a story: Nell Stevens is a wonderful writer but nothing happens in her stories, so she decides to travel to what is almost literally the ends of the earth to write. Ironically, ...

  • Katie
    Mar 13, 2017

    Bleaker House is Nell Stevens' memoir of a failed attempt to isolate herself on a tiny island in the Falkland Islands to write a novel. It's a sort of mix of fiction and memoir, while Stevens talks ab...

  • Kaisha Khalifeh
    Oct 15, 2016

    This memoir of a writer's attempt to force a novel in splendid isolation on Bleaker Island is fantastic. Much like in H is for Hawk, it is not really the subject but the acute and incisive intelligenc...

  • Benji
    Apr 03, 2017

    Well, this was fabulous. Witty, compulsively readable, and a laugh or three on almost every page. Proper review to come nearer to publication date....