Silver and Salt

April 6, 2017

Penguin (UK)

W. W. Norton (USA)

‘There was a child in our courtyard. I saw a child there, standing by the fountain. She was there, then she was gone.’

On the death of her father, celebrated photographer Max Hollingbourne, Ruthie returns to his villa in remote, wild Greece.  After 15 years in exile she is welcomed by her older sister, Vinny. They build a fragile happiness in their haven above the sea, protecting one another from the dark secrets of their childhood. But the arrival of an English family at a neighbouring cottage, and one young girl in particular, triggers a chain of events that will plunge both women back into the past, with shocking and fatal consequences.

Devastating in its razor-sharp exploration of a tragic family  legacy, Silver and Salt is the story of two sisters, bound by their history and driven to repeat it.

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“This troubling novel is about patterns of behaviour repeating themselves in successive generations of the same family. It is beautifully detailed with a profound sense of place and the intricate clues woven through the fabric of the novel build up to a tragic finale.” Vanessa Berridge, Daily Express


Silver & Salt juxtaposes the precise mechanics of the photographic process with the fluidity of memory to great effect. Dymott… skillfully suggests how people – not just pictures – are all too susceptible to atmospheric conditions.” Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail


“A beautifully observed and shattering exploration of grief as their family’s tragic past is revealed.” Fanny Blake, Woman & Home


“The book is beautifully crafted, the action swinging from present to past and back again. It is at times lyrical, moving and profoundly disturbing. Dymott shows great psychological insight into the minds of the two girls and their troubles. Neither the beauty of their gardens in Kent nor that of the wild peninsula in Greece can make up for the betrayals and family disruption they have endured.” Clarissa Burden, The Tablet


“A compelling and complicated exploration of hurt in its many manifestations, and our ability – or inability – to withstand it.” Emily Rhodes, Country Life


“Fans of psychological suspense are sure to be hooked.” Saga Magazine


“There is much that is excellent in this novel: individual scenes in the English countryside and Greece which are beautifully and movingly realized; the love and care, only occasionally touched with impatience, which Beatrice and Vinny bestow in Ruthie. They are both fully imagined characters, and Dymott has the ability which so many novelists lack to make essentially good people interesting and convincing… Dymott is a novelist of obvious talent and much of this novel is very good, both pleasing and disturbing.” Scotsman


“I loved and admired Silver and Salt. It manages to be both very clever and entirely absorbing. I return to the settings in my mind long after finishing the book, and find myself thinking about the characters as if they were people I knew, while also respecting Elanor Dymott’s way with a sentence.” Sarah Moss


“Elegant and atmospheric, Silver and Salt is written with a calm lucidity that is both seductive and unnerving. You start to feel that anything could be revealed in that sharp Greek sunlight, and then it is.” Adam Foulds


“An unforgettable, deeply psychological, and irresistible read.” Jon Snow


“I read Silver and Salt as if in a trance. Elanor Dymott is a master of delicate psychological suspense, treading gently but with devastating precision until every detail of this very sad story is revealed and embedded in the reader’s mind, possibly forever.”  Elena Lappin


“Haunting … Psychologically acute, Silver and Salt will continue to grip readers long after its devastating conclusion.”  Booklist, American Library Association (starred review)


“Elegiac, devastating….The grueling and fascinating process of photographic development reads like its own sort of poetry in this gut-wrenching, achingly intimate look at grief and how closely art and life intertwine.” Kirkus


“Dymott excels at creating a hothouse world for her characters to inhabit.” Publishers Weekly


“An original, visual approach to the often explored theme of how cruel and selfish parents can cause lifelong trauma for their children.” Library Journal