Strange Heart Beating

Eli Goldstone

Published: 4 May 2017
Trade Paperback, Demy PB
135x216mm, 208 pages
ISBN: 9781783783496


Seb's beautiful, beloved wife Leda has been killed by a swan. Sorting through her belongings after her death, he comes across a packet of unopened letters from Olaf, a man whom Leda had never mentioned. Floundering professionally and sunk by grief, he decides to travel to Leda's home village in Latvia to patch her story together. But with each new person that he turns to for answers, Seb is met instead by more questions about Leda, her past and their life together.

A darkly funny, seductive novel that confronts the black undercurrent of possession inherent in love, Strange Heart Beating is a breathtaking debut from an author whose vision is both acerbic and tender.

About the author

Image of Eli Goldstone

Eli Goldstone lives in London and is a graduate of the City University Creative Writing (Novels) MA. She is the former prose editor of Cadaverine. She is the author of Strange Heart Beating (Granta 2017). More about the author


If the Coen Brothers had a sister, she would likely write like Goldstone, her pen dipped in weird black ink, piquant with fantasies and dread delusion’



‘A dark, witty, poignant novel about grief and love’

‘An enjoyable trip, wryly amusing and touching’ John Harding

‘As a study of grief and a search for closure, Strange Heart Beating touches on many uncomfortable areas, such as the poignant truth that we can never know anybody as well as we think we do, or would like to’

‘Goldstone has crafted a masterwork of minute bathos... Moving, tender, and poignant, but also richly peopled and crackling with a savage wit, Strange Heart Beating is not just a deliciously strange and oneiric attempt at answering a philosophical questions - can we ever really know another person - but also a sympathetic sketch of human grief’ Josh Philipps

‘Goldstone's book combines all-consuming grief with playful, knockabout drama... Strange Heart Beating, with its savage yet comforting undercurrent of a swan as an emblem of the soul reborn, is an ardent examination of loss, framed by multiple cultural allusions [and] is a reminder of the unknowability of those we truly love’

‘Goldstone's prose is laden with meaning, dark wit and a rich undercurrent of melancholy... With this compact, compelling and very powerful debut, Goldstone has signposted herself as a talented chronicler of human emotions and of the terrifying void that awaits us at the end of life's journey’ Jonny Sweet

‘I adored this striking debut novel from a bewitching and deceptively complex young voice... A book of layers to become immersed in, tumbling away from the sharp edges of reality down the rabbit hole of Leda's origins... filled with the bitterness and melancholy of lost love, darkly witty and immersive from the first page. Eli Goldstone [...] has produced a remarkable debut. She anatomizes grief from the inside out, stripping it back to the sinew, hinting at the magical realism of Angela Carter's writing but establishing a penetrating and fearless style that is firmly her own’

‘The writing is terrific; the story so skilfully and finely unfolded, full of sly laughs and complex tendernessSara Baume

‘There are funny moments in this book and sensuous descriptions of green, wolf-filled wildness of the Latvian forest, but it's also incredibly melancholy. Death and darkness are an inevitable part of life, especially in Eli Goldstone's world. But she expresses this so beautifully and simply that Strange Heart Beating is a joy to readAnna Fielding

‘What a beautiful, rare thing Strange Heart Beating is - funny and tender, yes, but so ferocious, sweeping its reader towards wholly devastating realisations’ Lisa McInerney

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