Sorrowland

Narrated by Karen Chilton
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Pub Date 6 May 2021 | Archive Date 2 Jul 2021

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Description

Brought to you by Penguin.

Vern, a Black woman with albinism, is hunted after escaping a religious compound, then she discovers that her body is changing and that she is developing extra-sensory powers.

Alone in the woods, she gives birth to twins and raises them away from the influence of the outside world. But something is wrong - not with them, but with her own body. It's itching, it's stronger, it's... not normal.

To understand her body's metamorphosis, Vern must investigate not just the secluded religious compound she fled but the violent history of dehumanisation, medical experimentation, and genocide that produced it. In the course of reclaiming her own darkness, Vern learns that monsters aren't just individuals, but entire histories, systems, and nations.

'Sorrowland is a wonderland of fantastical and frightening, magical and real. At the centre of this world and leaping off the page is Vern: unstoppable, unforgettable, and unlike anyone you have ever seen before.' MARLON JAMES, Booker Prize-winning author

'A fantastical, fierce reckoning ... Sorrowland is gorgeous, and the writing, the storytelling, are magnificent. This country has a dark history of what it's willing to do to black bodies, and Rivers Solomon lays that truth bare in a most unexpected, absolutely brilliant way.'
ROXANE GAY

'A furious utopia. Utterly compelling, brilliant and terrifying. Sorrowland seizes the history of white supremacy, racist medical experimentation, and the dream - and danger - of the commune and gnashes it into something magnificent and truly reparative. An epic fantasy that interweaves righteous, large-scale confrontations with power, extremely sexy and moving erotic gothic horror, and exquisite, meticulous renderings of the daily life of parenting. This is a fairy tale for adults, spangled in the wreckage of the world. A gorgeous, singular, and profound work.' JORDY ROSENBERG, author of Confessions of the Fox

© Rivers Solomon 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Brought to you by Penguin.

Vern, a Black woman with albinism, is hunted after escaping a religious compound, then she discovers that her body is changing and that she is developing extra-sensory...


Advance Praise

'Sorrowland is a wonderland of fantastical and frightening, magical and real. At the centre of this world and leaping off the page is Vern: unstoppable, unforgettable, and unlike anyone you have ever seen before.' MARLON JAMES, Booker Prize-winning author

'A fantastical, fierce reckoning ... Sorrowland is gorgeous, and the writing, the storytelling, are magnificent. This country has a dark history of what it's willing to do to black bodies, and Rivers Solomon lays that truth bare in a most unexpected, absolutely brilliant way.' ROXANE GAY

'A furious utopia. Utterly compelling, brilliant and terrifying. Sorrowland seizes the history of white supremacy, racist medical experimentation, and the dream - and danger - of the commune and gnashes it into something magnificent and truly reparative. An epic fantasy that interweaves righteous, large-scale confrontations with power, extremely sexy and moving erotic gothic horror, and exquisite, meticulous renderings of the daily life of parenting. This is a fairy tale for adults, spangled in the wreckage of the world. A gorgeous, singular, and profound work.' JORDY ROSENBERG, author of Confessions of the Fox

'Sorrowland is a wonderland of fantastical and frightening, magical and real. At the centre of this world and leaping off the page is Vern: unstoppable, unforgettable, and unlike anyone you have ever...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format, Unabridged
ISBN 9781529119343
PRICE £10.83 (GBP)
DURATION 12 Hours, 1 Minutes

Average rating from 15 members


Featured Reviews

This book was so amazing- the topic of cults and extreme groups is sensitively dealt with. Race, religion and modern world issues were discussed openly, but taken to the next level with a sci fi edge. The strong female lead- Vern- was wonderful. A protective mother, a passionate lover and a clever deep thinker. Her life has not be easy or normal, and the effects of the cult treatments leave her vulnerable to the outside world. This does not stop her, she learns how to turn every negative in to a positive. Such a clever plot. I hope there are more books about this character and what happens next.

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A brutal and distressing tale told in a lyrical prose. While I appreciated the themes and lgbtq+ rep in this novel I had a hard time with the pacing, which I found too slow. I'm sure other readers will find it more captivating than I did.

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Beautifully written and narrated. The writing and storytelling are exceptional and had me hooked from the first few sentences. Although set in an alternative world, 'Sorrowland' touches on contemporary issues of hate and violence. The book also touches on gender, sexuality and motherhood and at times a distressing read but also profound and moving. I can't wait to see the reaction from people when this novel is published as it is sure to be a bestseller. I also cannot wait to see what Rivers Solomon publishes next. This is the first audiobook that I have managed to listen to in it's entirety as usually I cannot get onboard with audio.

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"Vern wished to make every moment of her life a rebellion, not just against the Blessed Acres of Cain but the world in all its entirety. Nothing would be spared her resistance." Wow, wow, wow, where to start with this review!! There is so much I would like say about Sorrowland, I would have loved to have read it with a friend because if ever there was a book that should be discussed, debated and read with other bookish buddies, it is this one. The book opens with an albino 15 year old Vern, giving birth to twins alone in the woods after running away from the Blessed Acres of Cain, the cultist compound she grew up in. Although, she knows someone is after her and her children, she is determined to never return. As Vern makes a life for her family, living free from the influences of others, she starts to notice some unusual changes happening to her body. To understand her metamorphosis, Vern has to uncover the dark history and powers behind the compound she left. The skill in which Rivers Sololmon wrote this book is incredibly remarkable. It's a perfect blend of magical realism and speculative fiction, mixed with some gothic horror and even a beautiful dash of queer smut. All entwined in a deep rooted story that examines America's abuse of power and the systems that help to maintain it. Not only does Solomon cover this dynamic of the corruptible and exploitable nature of power, both institutional and within personal relationships. They have created some of the most amazing multidimensional, diverse and intersectional characters I've read in a while. The way Vern approached motherhood and parenting while bringing them up living the woods, was so enjoyable to read and challenged conventions. Her children, Howling and Feral have unique personalities of their own that radiate off the pages. The character development, brilliant pacing and layered plot all made for an outstanding book. Karen Chilton's audiobook narration is phenomenal and completely immersed me into the story. I highly recommend listening to it but you're anything like me and enjoy making copious highlights, you'll definitely also want a copy of the book. 5 stars Thank you to Random House UK, Cornerstone, Penguin Random House UK Audio and Merky Books for providing me with the e-arc and audiobook to review.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK Audio for an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Sorrowland was a truly gripping and so beautifully written. It truly highlights Rivers Solomon's incredible talent as a writer and their incredible brain to create this novel with a sense of reality. I felt so moved whilst listening to this audiobook and this story was so unique I couldn't help but be drawn in. Karen Chilton's narration of this book was fantastic and did the novel justice. I really enjoyed the listening experience and I felt really immersed in this story.

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