Spoilt Creatures

An Observer Best Debut of 2024 - 'compelling, cultish and utterly feral' Alice Slater

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Pub Date 6 Jun 2024 | Archive Date 20 Jun 2024
Headline | Tinder Press

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An Observer top ten best new novelist for 2024

A simmering debut, heady with the possibilities of language and the righteousness of female rage'
Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Mercies

'Lush and dreamlike - a sweltering novel, where the sunlight pulses with nightmarish dread'
Colin Walsh, author of Kala

'A modern-day Dionysian cult of women in the woods - haunting and exhilarating'
Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne

'Emma Cline's The Girls meets Lord of the Flies . . . compelling, cultish and utterly feral'
Alice Slater, author of Death of a Bookseller

They thought they knew everything about us. The kind of women we were.

It was a place for women. A remote farm tucked away in the Kent Downs. A safe space.

When Iris - newly single and living at home with her mother - meets the mysterious and beguiling Hazel, who lives in a women's commune, she finds herself drawn into the possibility of a new start away from the world of men who have only let her down. Here, at Breach House, the women can be loud and dirty, live and eat abundantly, all while under the leadership of their gargantuan matriarch, Blythe.

But even among the women, there are power struggles, cruelty and transgressions that threaten their precarious way of life. When a group of men arrives on the farm, the commune's existence is thrown into question, hurtling Iris and the other women towards an act of devastating violence.

Fierce and unapologetic, Spoilt Creatures is an intoxicating debut about transgression, sisterhood and the seductive nature of obsession. It pulls back the skin of patriarchal violence and examines the female rage that lurks beneath.

An Observer top ten best new novelist for 2024

A simmering debut, heady with the possibilities of language and the righteousness of female rage'
Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Mercies

'Lush and...

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ISBN 9781035407910
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Featured Reviews

Don’t you just want to grab this, switch off the phone and curl up on the sofa
By far one of my favourite books I've read this year… I loved every minute…

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I absolutely loved this debut novel.
With echoes of Sarah Hall, Emma Cline and Sophie Mackintosh throughout, this beautifully written and devastating novel is a must-read of 2024.

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An incredible debut from Amy Twigg. Spoilt Creatures follows Iris who, seeking to avoid moving back in with her mother after a break up, joins a commune of women living on a remote farm in the country. The book’s chapters are split between Iris at Breach House and Iris ten years later, haunted by something terrible that happened there.
The crawl towards this reveal is tense and perfectly executed. The knowledge that a disaster is coming hangs over every moment, and I still couldn’t help becoming attached to the characters and hoping for a different outcome. The women of Breach House are all fully realised, complex characters that I was desperate to know more about. Twigg’s writing style is beautiful and so rich, really drawing you into the world of the novel.
This is a dark, tense read perfectly suited to that claustrophobic kind of summer heat. Fans of writers like Shirley Jackson and Julia Armfield will find a lot to love here, as will anyone who enjoys dark and messy stories about women.
I sped through this book in two days and loved it! I can’t wait for it to come out so I can send copies to everyone I know.

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This was so good!! Incredibly well paced, the right amount of sinister that creeps up on you as you go. A truly harrowing and confronting exploration of the darkest parts of humanity and womanhood. It was gritty and vivid and made my stomach turn; it was also interspersed with moments of joy and sisterhood but always with a darkness lurking in the periphery.

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"Spoilt Creatures" by Amy Twigg is a captivating exploration of female solidarity, power dynamics, and the quest for autonomy. Set in a remote women's commune nestled in the Kent Downs, Twigg paints a vivid portrait of Breach House as a sanctuary for women seeking refuge from a world of disappointment and betrayal. The arrival of Iris, drawn by the enigmatic Hazel, sets in motion a chain of events that exposes the complexities of female relationships and the fragility of their utopia. With rich prose and deft characterizations, Twigg masterfully navigates themes of resilience and the inherent tension between freedom and vulnerability. "Spoilt Creatures" is a compelling and thought-provoking read that lingers in the mind long after the final page.

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"A remote farm tucked away in the Kent Downs. A safe space. A place for women."

With no exaggeration, it has taken me weeks to come up with any kind of words to do this debut justice. A story of obsession and fascination; the longing to be accepted, to be a part of something larger than just yourself (especially when yourself is the last thing you want to be), and how quickly things can fall apart leaving you exactly where you started. [ see also : you cannot outrun your past. ]

From the first words of the novel we know where this story is going. We know where the plot is going to drag us, kicking and screaming against the inevitable, but that didn’t slow me down any. When things are good, they’re good. Grown women indulging in a childlike wonder that was syphoned out of so many at a young age— playing hide and seek, warm naps in the sunshine, indulging in homegrown sweets. Yes, the women work hard, but in the mingling of their sweat with the earth they find camaraderie; haircuts in solidarity against the heat, a single loofah in the shower.

The thing about being led, and having faith in your leader, is that under their watchful eye you can now turn off the part of you perpetually in survival mode, tired. I would argue this particular exhaustion is the very root of feminine rage, branching off as life continues, but it’s always there marinating in its anguished brine. But how safe are we ever, really, in the hands of another? And what if it all isn’t really for us, or about us — what if they were only really looking out for themselves all along?

The accuracy of this novel being compared to The Girls (by Emma Cline) and Lord of the Flies (by William Golding) is unmatched in it's accuracy. Somehow, despite tropes we are familiar with, this novel manages to still be fresh and thoughtful and new. It was everything I hoped it would be, and more.

I think I’m still not over it.

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You know that sound that is being trending on social media ¡Oh I love to me a woman! If I should describe this book will be exactly that feeling. I am one of the lucky people who got access to this ARC thanks to netgally, the publisher and the author. I had no idea what this books as about when I started reading I couldn't set my head on the book. But is beautifully written the whole plot unfoll in such a intelligently and delightfull way. I enjoy so much the concept of the book. I just had one trouble with the storyline and it didn’t let me enjoy fully the book. I like the character development too and find this could be a brilliant book for many female readers.

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I really enjoyed this novel set in a commune populated exclusively by women. The characters are interesting and well developed, and I found Iris's fascinating with the women to be convincing. It was also refreshing to have a female at the heart of a cult for once!

A very quick and enjoyable read overall.

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Found this slow to start off with but gradually got into it. The writing is beautiful and the plot is incredibly interesting. I will definitely reread this at some point. I can't wait to read Amy Twigg's future work!

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A women only commune. A social hierarchy. I have often discussed what would happen if we women were to start our own commune and take care of each other. Well, what happens at Bleach House is NOT what I expected.

Overall, I was propelled to the end and was captivated up until virtually the end when it all seemed a bit anti-climactic. I expected the plot to pull together neatly.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC.

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A culty ‘Lord of the Flies’ - a reminder that if you are feeling lost that running off to a commune lead by a cold hearted, monomaniac probably isn’t the answer. Along the lines of last year’s ’The Silence Project’ and Naomi Alderman’s ‘The Power’ this tale debunks the myth that the world would be a lovely place if run by women.

For a debut novel this is a cracking read. Told in the ever popular ‘then and now’ format we know that something awful happens and this knowledge lurks on every page. The ending fell a little flat more me - I wanted more for present day Iris but this is a minor quibble.

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