The Last Sane Woman: A Novel (Verso Fiction) (Paperback)

The Last Sane Woman: A Novel (Verso Fiction) By Hannah Regel Cover Image
On Our Shelves Now
On hand as of Jul 15 5:45pm


A beguiling debut novel about friendship and failure

Nicola Long is a few years out of a fine arts degree, listless and unenthusiastically employed in London. She begins to spend her hours at a small underfunded archive dedicated to women’s art. There she discovers one side of a correspondence beginning in 1976 and spanning a dozen years, written from one woman – a ceramics graduate, uncannily like Nicola – to a friend living a contrasting and conventionally moored life. As Nicola reads on, an acute sense of affinity turns into obsession.

She abandons one job after another to make time for the archive. The litany of coincidences in the letters becomes uncanny, and Nicola’s feeling of ownership begets a growing dread: should she be afraid of where these letters are leading?

About the Author

Hannah Regel is a writer based in London. She has two published collections of poetry, WHEN I WAS ALIVE and OLIVER REED (Montez Press, 2017 and 2020). OLIVER REED was listed as one of The White Review's books of the year, 2020 and excerpted in Granta magazine. THE LAST SANE WOMAN is her debut novel, the manuscript was a recipient of the K Blundell Trust award.

Praise For…

"Disquieting and gorgeous, The Last Sane Woman plucks images from the world with the claustrophobic pleasure of picking a scab. It reaches deep into the negative spaces of failure and precarity, and from these resources assembles something caustic, elegant, elusive and foreboding. It’s also funny, with an offbeat, sly lightness that comes from knowing exactly how high the odds are stacked against you. I was hooked by the conversation between Regel’s protagonists, looping across generations to give voice to the pains of making and the shameful pleasures of destruction."
—Daisy LaFarge, author of Life without Air and Paul

"The Last Sane Woman is a brilliant, slyly funny, and acutely observed meditation on the process both of the making of objects and of one’s own life. Regel’s prose is gorgeous and deftly rendered on every page."
—Sophie Mackintosh, author of The Water Cure

"In Regel's alluring debut novel a London art school graduate takes a job at a feminist archive and stumbles on a mystery buried in the collection ... a distinctive story of female friendship."
Publishers Weekly

"Regel started out as a poet before turning to fiction, and the sharp aesthetic sense and ability to hold and distil a moment ... are present here, too."
—Holly Connolly, AnOther Magazine

"Regel offers an unnerving and playfully pithy world, one in which dread is almost a fetish, tragedy an aesthetic, failure a form of entertainment."
—Kate Simpson, Telegraph

"Regel understands the fine line between success and failure, the difficulties of producing meaningful art in a fickle world, and her book is a sensitive meditation on creativity and disconnection."
—Lucy Popescu, Observer

"The Last Sane Woman is an evocative, aching riff on the epistolary tradition"
—Rachel Vorona Cote, The Washington Post

"In Regel’s case, her poetry as well as her fiction gives the sensation of the author winking at you from behind the page"
—Zsófia Paulikovics, Interview Magazine

"Jaunty, warm and always sensitive...[Regel is] an author who can handle delicate subjects with assurance and charm."
—Magnus Rena, Literary Review

"Moving, lyrical"
—Martin Chilton, Independent
Product Details
ISBN: 9781804295373
ISBN-10: 180429537X
Publisher: Verso Fiction
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English
Series: Verso Fiction