The latest book reviews in one place

Saltwater Reviews

Saltwater by Jessica Andrews


Jessica Andrews

3.50 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Sceptre
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Publication date: 16 May 2019
ISBN: 9781473682771

A stunning new voice in British literary fiction, for fans of Rachel Cusk and Sally Rooney.

4 stars out of 5
Sarah Gilmartin
18 May 2019

"Jessica Andrew’s debut novel marks her as a writer to watch"

In London, we get scenes of crazy warehouse parties, sleazy bar owners, poor grades and class struggles as Lucy works part time to support her education. In the remote landscape of Donegal, however, a new woman emerges. Echoing the fluidity elsewhere in the book, there is a poignant moving away from the meagreness and restriction of her old existence: “I want a life that is full, which means dirty and delicious. Order seems to mean emptiness, or at least it does for me. I want coffee spilled on the carpet and stew slopped across the stove … I want to learn abundance; how to have things without fear.”


4 stars out of 5
Stephanie Cross
17 May 2019

"a sharply observed and poignant first outing"

The twentysomething debut author Jessica Andrews apparently cut up the manuscript of her millennial coming-of-age novel and rearranged it on the kitchen floor. It might sound gimmicky, but the resulting narrative, which progresses via lyrical, numbered instalments, reflects narrator Lucy’s struggles to find a shape and space to inhabit — both metaphorically and literally... Authenticating references are over-egged (fake tan, Matey bubble bath, Skips crisps), and there’s a temporary loss of momentum mid-way, but this is nonetheless a sharply observed and poignant first outing.

3 stars out of 5
Johanna Thomas-Corr
5 May 2019

"This debut novel is raw, intimate and authentic"

Saltwater is raw, intimate and authentic but lacking in intrigue or critical distance. It’s a shame, because somewhere in here is a story about disadvantage that deserves to be heard. Andrews obviously has talent; it just needs nurturing more carefully. A novel should be more than a bunch of feels.