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‘Strachan understands and conveys raw emotion.
Many readers will connect with this story’

‘The author has a wonderful ear for dialogue and the Glasgow parts pin the city exactly’
Glasgow Herald

‘A powerful portrayal of grief’
The Scotsman

‘Nothing here feels neat or pat, and as a result this
is a complex, mature novel with thought-provoking,
well-crafted themes’
Independent on Sunday

A fierce and vivid story of grief and the search for identity, Negative Space won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Saltire First Scottish Book of the Year Award and longlisted for the SAC Book of the Year Award.

Dying at twenty four is unnatural. But that’s what Simon did, leaving his sister in shock, alone and haunted by the past. In the harsh but strangely comforting anonymity of Glasgow, she moves dazedly from artists’ studios to smoky pubs, clutching at comfort wherever she can find it, in drink or sex. Her already fractured world seems now to have been torn apart, as she struggles with the question of whether secrets are better exposed or buried. But an unexpected trip offers a change in her tense and frightening world. Still haunted by memories of him, she leaves the city for Orkney, and the healing process begins in a way no one could have predicted.

Negative Space is a vibrant, intimate novel, rich with emotion and humour. With delicacy and great tenderness, it traces the process of grief, from paralysis to its most self-destructive excesses. As the story unfurls before the reader, it emerges as a powerful tale of great courage, optimism and humour.

‘A sparkling, fantastical tale’

‘A moving exploration of grief and bereavement . . . so rawly done it hurts to read’
The Independent

”A perfect eye for the small detail . . . the first person voice drifts between past and present with astonishing effectiveness. Intimate and real’
Scarlett Thomas, Independent on Sunday

‘Honest, intimate and powerful . . . You’ll find yourself filled with an astonishingly vivid sense of what it is like to cope with the death of a loved one’

‘Negative Space is a powerful, sometimes painful tale. Its chief achievement–and this is no mean feat–is to create a central relationship possessing all the luminous intensity of the best love stories. But this is no romance, nor is there anything predictable about its outcome. Strachan’s mission–to write about a love blurred by blood-ties and interrupted by sudden death–demonstrates a courage and an honesty rare in first novels’
Matthew Baylis, official Review

Negative Space was also nominated for The Big Gay Read 2006 by Helen Walsh. Here’s what she said:

‘The best queer novels are the ones which queer the landscape, where gay is every bit as apolitical as straight and where gender and sexuality are very much like shoes – they fit for as long as we want them to. Zoë Strachan’s Negative Space is a brilliantly executed queer read in the sense that sex is more of an issue than sexuality. The L word doesn’t even come into it. The central protagonist is a young Glaswegian female trying to come to terms with the death of her brother, Simon. She finds no salvation in the city’s smoky, drinking haunts or in the sexual encounters she procures there. Each futile experience merely deepens her grief. It’s only when she leaves Glasgow for the wild rugged planes of Orkney does the healing process begin. It’s here that she meets the beautiful, self-assured Iram. Their encounter is all too fleeting, but its metaphorical resonance reverberates long after the final pages. Strachan writes from the heart – the striving splintered heart. This is not so much a gay novel, but a great novel.’

You can buy the book from A Talking Book of this title, read by the author, is available for visually impaired readers.