DEATH AND THE SEASIDE Is Alison Moore’s Undeniable Best

Dear Friends,

When I started this year at Biblioasis, I read as many of our books as I could get my hands on, and Death and the Seaside by Alison Moore has been my favourite one so far (and there are ARCs available now!). It’s thought-provoking, enchanting, and creepy (but not so creepy that a complete wuss like me couldn’t handle it). I found myself listening for noises in the house when I read it at night, and I couldn’t stop thinking about getting back to it when I was at work.

It’s about Bonnie, an aspiring writer in her late twenties, who finally moves out of her parents’ place and into her own apartment. Her landlady starts to take an interest in both her and her writing—and let’s just say some boundaries are crossed. Soon they’re heading out of town on holiday together to a town similar to one in a story Bonnie is writing, and things get intense.

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‘Where do you think the anxiety in your writing stems from?’ asked Sylvia. ‘This obsession with the fragility of limbs?’

‘I don’t know,’ said Bonnie, who had never seen her writing that way. ‘I don’t feel particularly anxious.’

‘Well, here and now, you are in a safe and predictable environment. But were you to be removed from such a safe and predictable environment, you might expect anxiety levels to rise.’

Bonnie looked anxiously at Sylvia. ‘Removed?’ she said. 



Death and the Seaside | Alison Moore | $19.95 CAD
Oct 8, 2019 | Trade Paper | 9781771962759 | 192 pp
Published by Biblioasis |



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It’s also easily a big office favourite. Theo loves how Sylvia struggles to distinguish between fiction and life, between literary criticsim and descriptions of reality and how the book critiques that problem. She also loved the book’s description of post-BA drift—that moment when you’re done school and still not quite sure what you should do next.

Meghan said the book was one of the best explorations of anxiety, inertia, and the lack of personal agency that she’d ever seen. While her feelings of unease grew throughout the book, so too did her desire to see Bonnie take charge of her own story. Meghan said that Moore gives us one of the cleanest and most satisfying endings she’s read in a long time.

Casey called it unsettling and intimate. She noted how easily Sylvia takes control of Bonnie and how helpless you feel for her. You can feel whatever little sense of independence and self-regard Bonnie has being meticulously swept away by her landlady—you know that there is something malevolent about Sylvia, but you can’t look away. Casey called the ending “a friggin’ ending for the record books.” She said it was completely unexpected, with an emotional crash of a falling building. Though Casey loves all of Alison Moore’s books, she thinks this is her at her undeniable best.


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The book already saw raves in the UK:

“As with earlier masters of the genre such as Daphne du Maurier, Moore creates a psychological thriller dripping with foreboding . . . Another triumph from Moore, her clear and unambiguous writing style as well as her ability to build tension will appeal to both adolescents and adults.”
—Jacqueline Snider, Library Journal

“Book of the day. Dense, complex, thought-provoking, it manages to be at once a fairytale and a philosophical treatise, high-octane thriller and literary interrogation. Like the dreams that haunt Bonnie’s night-times, it holds its secrets close, and repays careful rereading. The end of the novel, abrupt and death-haunted, feels as neat and tight as a key in a lock, and sheds light on the mysteries that have gone before.”
—Sarah Crown, The Guardian

“She is both gifted stylist and talented creator of a new English grotesque.”
—Isabel Berwick, Financial Times

I hope you’ll check out this beautiful and haunting novel! E-mail Casey for an ARC at!