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Sixteen-year-old Sarah can’t draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has ‘done the art.’ She thinks she’s having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she wanders the urban ruins of Philadelphia.
Or maybe she’s finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can’t quite recall. After decades of staying together ‘for the kids’ and building a family on a foundation of lies and domestic violence, Sarah’s parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage.
As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original—and yet it still hurts.Insightful, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, this is a vivid portrait of abuse, survival, resurgence that will linger with readers long after the last page.
‘Moving, unapologetically strange, skilfully constructed…. Read this book, whatever your age. You may find it’s the exact shape and size of the hole in your heart.’
‘You’ll find Still Life’s exploration of an artist’s inner strength particularly enriching.’
‘King understands and writes teen anxieties like no other, resulting in difficult, resonant, compelling characters and stories.’
‘A.S. King has always brought her unique touch to her YA novels, but she may have outdone even herself in Still Life with Tornado.’
‘The presentation of the surreal as real, the deeply thoughtful questions she poses, the way she empowers her teenage characters to change the trajectory of their lives—King writes with the confidence of a tightrope walker working without a net.’
‘Still Life with Tornado is a slow-burning but fascinating book…With elements of magical realism, this novel is one that will have you glued to the pages. The writing is as lyrical as it is poignant, and I couldn’t recommend this one enough for people wanting to delve into the sub-genre I call existential contemporary.’