The Headland

Abi Curtis

October, 1987. It’s the morning following a devastating hurricane on England’s south coast, and local painter Dolores is walking the scrabbly beach of the Headland. She spots something unusual lurking in a piece of driftwood – a colour, a creature, perhaps something fostered by the twin forces of storm and atomic fallout. It’s all anyone has been talking about, after all, just months after Chernobyl and in the shadow of the local nuclear power station.

Decades later, her son Morgan returns to the Headland to arrange for Dolores’ funeral. The power station is about to be decommissioned, and the bleak landscape is best known now as a landing point for desperate immigrants from across the Channel. Morgan’s girlfriend is pregnant – an unexpected revelation that he is not at all sure about – and he is especially keen to discover what he can from his mother’s unusual cottage, especially about his father, who he has never known. He uncovers the diary his mother wrote following the hurricane. It tells a story about Dolores and what she discovers on the beach – a story which is both enthralling and heartrending.

This is an unforgettable literary novel, set in the salt and briskness of an unusual seaside community, about love, parenthood, solitude, and how unspeakable grief can transform a life. With echoes of Sophie Mackintosh and Michel Faber, THE HEADLAND is a luminous, psychologically astute and haunting read.

“The Headland hooked me from the very start with its powerful, sensory descriptions of the south coast and the great storm of 1987. Out of that wild night emerges the mysterious presence at the heart of this novel: an entity that glimmers, in Curtis’ poetic hands, with alien beauty and with the stunning force of grief. This is a strange, dark, gorgeous song of a novel.”
Naomi Booth, author of Sealed, Exit Management and Animals at Night

Other books by Abi Curtis