Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize
Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel award
Longlisted for the Guardian First Book award
“Fantastically imagined . . . Only a heart of glass would be unmoved.” – New York Times
“Ali Shaw has written a rare orchid of a book, beautiful and eccentric and exquisitely sad.” – Patrick Ness
Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St Hauda’s Land. Unusual winged creatures flit around icy bogland; albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods; jellyfish glow in the ocean’s depths… and Ida MacLaird is slowly turning into glass.
A mysterious and frightening metamorphosis has befallen Ida – she is slowly turning into glass, from the feet up. She returns to St Hauda’s Land, where she believes the glass first took hold, in search of a cure.
Midas Crook is a young loner, who has lived on the islands his entire life. When he meets Ida, something about her sad, defiant spirit pierces his emotional defences. As Midas helps Ida come to terms with her affliction, she gradually unpicks the knots of his heart, and they begin to fall in love…
What they need most is time – and time is slipping away fast. Will they find a way to stave off the spread of the glass? The Girl with Glass Feet is a dazzlingly imaginative and gripping first novel, a love story to treasure.
“Shaw has worked the great tradition of European fairy tales and come up with an ingenious story . . . A magical fable of fate and resignation.” – The Guardian
“The Girl with Glass Feet is a love story, not just about two people falling in love, but also about love itself: its power, its limits, and its consequences. . . . Full of magical surprises.” – Boston Globe
“Ali Shaw has created a memorable addition to the fabulist pantheon in his gorgeous first novel, The Girl with Glass Feet . . . Shaw acknowledges the influence of writers like Andersen, Kafka and Borges (Shaw’s menagerie of perfectly detailed, marvelous creatures could have stepped from the pages of “The Book of Imaginary Beings”). But it’s Andersen’s melancholy tales, steeped in loss and a brooding sense of fatedness, that shimmer around the edges of The Girl with Glass Feet.” – Washington Post
Longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize
Shortlisted for the Crawford Award
An IndieNext Pick
“A world freshly and richly imagined. . . . soothingly spellbinding, pulling the reader with steady delicacy into the hearts and minds of its characters amid the enthralling murmur of the fantastical.” – San Francisco Book Review
“Whether you read it as science fiction, fairy tale, fable, allegory, mystery or magical realism, The Girl With Glass Feet is weirdly beautiful and highly entertaining.” – Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“A rare pleasure.” – Katherine Dunn
“A work of great imagination and talent.” – Washington Times
“Written in the tradition of magical realists like Haruki Murakami and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Girl with Glass Feet is a singular, slippery narrative that defies easy categorization. Shaw writes finely honed prose and knows how to wring maximum suspense out of a tightly woven plot. His is an accomplished first novel — a hypnotic book with an atmosphere all its own.” – Bookpage
“Ali Shaw shows immense promise with his deft use of language, which sings in a book that is at its heart filled with sadness. The soft light on the island plays coyly with the thick vegetation, casting glorious shadows and producing a riot of images all ably captured by Midas’ camera and Shaw’s prose.” – Chicago Sun-Times
“The Girl with Glass Feet is not just special—it’s remarkable. . . . It’s a very visual novel—readers who enjoy using their imagination will adore it.” – Oxford Times
“Captivatingly ethereal.” – Kirkus Reviews
“A haunting and magical tale. . . . One of the most original and memorable love stories I’ve read in a long time. . . . It takes a real talent to create such an imaginative setting yet still make readers believe and care about the characters.” – Aberdeen Press and Journal