Leaving the Sea

Leaving the Sea
Genre : Fiction
Published : 5 Feb 2015 - Granta
A bold new short story collection from one of the most exhilarating and innovative writers of our time. The stories in LEAVING THE SEA take place in a world which is a distortion of our own, where strange illnesses strike at random and where people disappear without a trace. Ben Marcus has created a labyrinth populated by disturbed, weary men; from the frustrated creative writing teacher to the advocate of self-inhumation; from Paul, whose return home leads him further into his isolation, or Mather, whose child is sick, to an unnamed narrator who spends his lonely evenings calculating the probabilities of his mother's imminent demise. Dark, funny and utterly unique, LEAVING THE SEA showcases a writer at the height of his powers.


A new short-story collection set in a distorted world where disease strikes at random and people disappear without trace. From the author of the dazzlingly original The Flame Alphabet and The Age of Wire and String.


Exhilarating and also at times hilarious... Thoroughly and perversely entertaining.

New York Times

As the collection progresses, things get weirder... The stories are dystopic, nightmarish, Kafkaesque in their refusal to explain their own distortions. The writing is so sharp, the world seems made afresh with every story.

Emma Brockes, Guardian

One of the most innovative writers of the concise form around. Leaving the Sea is a fascinating showcase of Marcus' stylistic range, though the stories are all linked by a heady mix of dystopia, absurdity and detached male protagonists. Marcus balances out the darker, more intense moments with well-placed comic lines. It's an absorbing collection, and marks out the author as an eclectic and valuable talent.

The List

Relentlessly sardonic, cynical and ambitiously experimental in style... Leaving the Sea makes you want to tell everyone you know to go and read Ben Marcus.

Financial Times

Marcus is adept at putting his darker subject matter into relief with bright sparks of humour. Leaving the Sea left me sucker punched.


Leaving the Sea has plenty of the chair-gripping alienation that marks his previous books, but there's a greater emotional complexity. Thoroughly and perversely entertaining.


Ben Marcus is one of the most stunningly original and profoundly unsettling writers of his generation.

Stuart Kelly, Guardian

Intriguing... full of deft, dark humour.

Times Literary Supplement

The prose I lethal, dissecting, surprising, oblique… This is writing that pushes to the edge, where it's bleak and awful and darkly funny.

***** Skinny

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