Only weeks into their marriage a young couple embark on a six-month period of separation. Tom Cavendish goes to Japan to build lighthouses and his wife Ally, Doctor Moberley-Cavendish, stays and works at the Truro asylum. As Ally plunges into the institutional politics of mental health, Tom navigates the social and professional nuances of late 19th century Japan. With her unique blend of emotional insight and intellectual profundity, Sarah Moss builds a novel in two parts from Falmouth to Tokyo, two maps of absence; from Manchester to Kyoto, two distinct but conjoined portraits of loneliness and determination. An exquisite continuation of the story of Bodies of Light, Signs for Lost Children will amaze Sarah Moss’s many fans.
About the Author
Sarah Moss was educated at Oxford University and is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. She is the author of four novels: Cold Earth, Night Waking, which was selected for the Fiction Uncovered Award, Bodies of Light and Signs for Lost Children; and the co-author of Chocolate: A Global History. She spent 2009-10 as a visiting lecturer at the University of Reykjavik, and wrote an account of her time there in Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland, which was shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize.
Set in the 19th century, newly-weds Ally and Tom move to Cornwall, where Ally, a pioneering female doctor, takes up a position in an asylum. Tom’s work takes him off to Japan alone to build a lighthouse. Their different paths are journeys of discovery for them both, but the reader wonders how Ally and Tom can reconnect on his return. This is an elegant and delicate, yet vivid story about identity in marriage in a time of Victorian values, set against the diverse backgrounds of Cornwall and Japan.