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Author: Natasha Carthew

Category: Literature & literary studies

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Coronet

ISBN: 9781399706513

RRP: $26.99


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‘A powerful story of social inequality’ RAYNOR WINN

To grow up in rural poverty is to fight for life before you can walk. Natasha Carthew was born into a world that sat alongside picture-postcard Cornwall – one where second homes took the sea view of council properties, summer months shifted the course of people’s lives, and wealth converged with poverty on sandy beaches.

In the rockpools and hedgerows of the natural world, Natasha found solace in the wild landscape, and a means of escape in her mobile library. In Undercurrent she retraces the cliff paths of her childhood, determined to make sense of an upbringing shaped by political neglect and a life defined by the beauty of nature.


‘A story of queer resistance, of community and of finding your own voice’ DAMIAN BARR

‘By turns marvellous, moving and mesmerising’ ANITA SETHI

‘A proud, defiant account’ CAUGHT BY THE RIVER

‘Haunting and powerful’ KATE MOSSE

‘Fierce and honest . . . reveals the precarious nature of working-class life’ BBC COUNTRYFILE MAGAZINE

A book like a beacon, blazing with love and anger for how it is to grow up poor and full of serious ambition in a place others use as a playground. Carthew’s unbreakable commitment to making art from the outside edge of social provision is a rallying call to all of us who grew up pushed to the margins. This is a fierce, inspiring story. – Tanya Shadrick

Luscious layers of poetic prose that fluidly lead us through the landscapes and seascapes of Cornwall, recounting stories of poverty and often tough childhood struggles. Stories told by one who knew that they needed and wanted so much more for their life, but one for whom the seascape of Cornwall is still the hypnotic textural lens.

This book is a beautiful, sometimes difficult, elegy to our innermost hopes, fears and dreams. Gorgeously and generously written . – Juno Roche

Many books set in Cornwall are about somebody’s escape. Natasha’s memoir is something completely different. It’s a ‘real’ Cornwall that is totally different from the carefully curated version that we package up for visitors and because of this, this book really resonates for those of us that grew up here – and especially those of us who grew up desperately poor. Alongside memoir, Natasha discusses the indignities and (lack of) opportunities available to the rural working classes and in so doing, her testimony is relevant across rural locations globally. This is a book for a much bigger readership than just those who like stories about Cornwall, or who enjoy autobiography. This is a rare book about being from a rural working class environment in the global north and as such, speaks for an important but widely neglected minority’ – Dr JOANIE WILLETT Senior Lecturer in Politics Exeter University & Co-Director, Institute of Cornish

Poetic, political and powerful, Natasha Carthew weaves lyrical and sensual nature writing with the tough realities of growing up in poverty – Chloe TImms

Natasha Carthew shines the light on another side of Cornwall, one far from the world of bright Instagram pictures and celebrity travel shows. She reveals a place of poverty, dead-end jobs and little hope. But she writes so passionately about a world she knows well and her humanity and sense of humour shine though on every page, ensuring that the often dark subject matter fuels a rich, rewarding read

Praise for Natasha Carthew:

A beautiful piece of writing, such a testament to the generations of strong women who have inhabited this coast and told in a poetic Cornish accent so evocative of time and place

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