Ever Fallen In Love
Richard fell for Luke at university. Luke was handsome, dissolute, dangerous; together they did things that Richard has spent the last decade trying to forget. Now his career is on the brink of success, but his younger sister Stephie's life is in pieces. Her invasion of Richard's remote west coast sanctuary forces Richard to confront the tragedy and betrayal of his past, and face up to his own role in what happened back then. In this compelling, visceral tale of how not to fit in, ZoA" Strachan takes us on a journey through hedonistic student days to the lives we didn't expect to end up living, and the hopes and fears that never quite leave us.
'Strachan sustains strong undercurrents of menace and regret by cutting back and forth: we see Richard then and now, a reclusive designer of computer games holed up in the Highlands, unable to fully shake the stain of bad decisions while still in thrall to a prior, supposedly more exciting version of himself. The fug of student common rooms and bars is expertly conveyed, alongside the clean-washed emptiness of the coast. And although I've never been interested in playing war games, Strachan makes their creation sound fascinating.' Chris Ross, Guardian 'Moving between the two time frames Strachan weaves an air of tense mystery that keeps the pages turning. She also deftly tells a story that will be familiar to many - showing how life can frequently take us places we never thought we'd be the kind of person to go, but how little we really change even so.' Gregor White, Stirling Observer 'Compelling reading ... The story is deftly woven and the chapters about young Richard capture in their tone and pace the sense of frenzy and blind madness of teenage love. There is a cooler tone in the older Richard's narrative, reflecting the maturing adult's hindsight ... Zoe Strachan has produced a powerful exploration of how youthful passion makes for vulnerability to bad influences, and the way even the strongest moral compass can swing wildly when faced with the pressure and agony of unrequited desire.' Mandy Haggith, Northwords Now 'Ever Fallen in Love doesn't disappoint. A quietly unsettling take on the coming-of-age genre, Strachan's novel avoids the more obvious shock-factor conclusion and instead continually teeters on the edge. Unafraid of the unspoken and the unresolved, the story gets under your skin and lingers there uncomfortably' Lucy Scholes, Sunday Times 'Strachan's maturity and insight shows through the beautifully constructed pages. The tempo stays effortlessly high and the tension keeps building along with Richard's desire... Ever Fallen In Love might be the one to catapult her into the mainstream' Gutter 'There is no doubt this is a hard-boiled book and it pulls no punches. Strachan writes in great detail about the psychology of her protagonists with objectivity and perception. The incredible trick she pulls off is that we do end up identifying with her introverted hero Richard, mainly because his journey is so complex and constantly blighted by his hopeless sexual obsession with the straight, taunting, malignant Luke' Alice Thompson, Scottish Review of Books 'The novel excels at evoking the mind games, the vile but subtly plotted erosion which one driven friend can exert on another. The first-person segments power the narrative, dragging the reader into the layers of tangled dependence as Richard falls foul of Luke's excesses ... astute, intelligent, almost entirely convincing' Tom Adair, Scotsman 'a dark tale of love, tragedy and betrayal. Written in Strachan's typically lucid, honest style, it tells of lovers Richard and Luke and their wild student adventures, which come back to haunt Richard in his Highland village retreat ten years later. Strachan's real strength is her psychological insight into her character' Doug Johnstone, Big Issue
Zoe Strachan is the author of two previous successful novels, Negative Space and Spin Cycle. She was selected as one of the twenty best young novelists in Britain by the Independent. Negative Space won a Betty Trasker award and was short listed for the Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award. She has received two writer's bursaries from the Scottish Arts Council, a Hawthornden Fellowship and was UNESCO City of Literature writer-in-residence at the National Museum of Scotland. In 2008 she was awarded a Hermann Kesten Stipendium and in 2009 received a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship which took her to France to write. She lives in Glasgow where she teaches part time on the prestigious Creative Writing programme at the University of Glasgow.