Ambiguity also lies at the heart of Sophie Mackintosh’s novel Cursed Bread. Elodie, a baker’s wife, becomes obsessed with the glamorous new couple who move into her town: the ambassador and Violet. Elodie falls into a kind of hazy, confused love for Violet, while the community around her revels in suspicion of the new couple. Written with an almost fearfully dispassionate tone, Mackintosh creates a world of surreal happenings in a most regular setting: strange occurrences build up in this town while Elodie becomes more and more deluded in her fantasies of love and lifestyle. Everything seems to happen with a ‘sickening inevitability’ which is evidently Mackintosh’s distinct style. Mackintosh is a powerful and skilful writer, though it’s not a novel for the light-hearted or, indeed, the easily bemused.
Patrick Maxwell is a journalist and writer
Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh is out on March 2 (Penguin, £16.99).You can buy it from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.
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