'Disconcerting, haunting and unputdownable.' Sunday Telegraph
'Her characters are real and vivid; they miss each other in the dark ... a beautifully worded tale and utterly true to itself.' The Sunday Times
'Terrifying ... Glaister truffles her way down to the grim heart, where we find out what makes people tick like time-bombs.' Daily Telegraph
'Glaister's fresh and vivid voice shouts above the insipid ranks of so much contemporary fiction.' The Times
'Glaister specialises in domestic horror. Skeletons fairly rattle in her fictional cupboards.' Independent
‘Lesley Glaister’s first novel, Honour Thy Father, won the Somerset Maugham and a Betty Trask Award. Her last novel, Now You See Me, was adored by critics across the board and yet, nine novels down the line, and she is still in search of that break-out novel, the one that justifiably sells by the bucket load. The fact that her haunting novels, where a familiar world of bored housewives, frustrated professionals and lonely individuals who skirt the edge of our society are seen through gothic eyes, do not fly from the bookshelves is a crime of unfathomable proportions.
Limestone and Clay is one of the early novels now re-packaged along with the rest of her backlist in an attempt to right this wrong. Nadia is a sculptor. She spends her day making things from clay and ruminating her woeful string of miscarriages. Husband, Simon, a geography teacher, finds meaning in his own life through underground caving, squeezing his way through narrow tunnels and crevices in his own silent, heart-pounding thrill-ride. He is planning a weekend trip with fellow caver, Miles and ex-lover, Celia. Celia is everything Nadia is not and when she falls pregnant at the drop of a hat and her own husband turns out to be infertile, bubbling jealousies and all-round cattiness rush to the surface. With the now pregnant Celia pulling out of the trip and the weather worsening, it seems that maybe, just maybe, everything will be just fine after all. Of course, it is not and in true Glaister style, the characters set their own course with the smallest of decisions and the pettiest of actions.
As a character, Nadia is both tragic and spiteful (and all the more real for it). As we follow her around her mundane life, trying to find meaning in her work and forming an unlikely and unwanted friendship with her clairvoyant neighbour, the delightfully macabre Iris, we pause on every erratic little thought and realise the true torment that can besiege the most ordinary soul. The terrifying and almost absurd episode when is left to babysit a newborn child she has never set eyes on before, is both heart-breaking and heart-stopping.
Probably the least-known of all of Glaister’s novels, Limestone and Clay is not one of her best. The ending topples rather disappointingly into cliché and the whole plot seems a little too fragile. However, the Glaister trademarks are clearly evident. Some of the descriptions are pitch-perfect and the reader is allowed to delve right into the darkest recesses of the characters, normal people who you would never normally think had a characteristic worth investigating, let alone caring about. And, as with all her novels, you are left feeling that these stories must surely be as easy and entertaining to write, as they are to read. Not a gem amongst other gems, but surely a stone that still sparkles and entices.’