Folk by Zoe Gilbert review – a dreamlike tapestry of island fables

Dark magic, superstition and foreboding ritual haunt this immersive portrait of the fictional village of Neverness

Perhaps it is too easy to remark on the contemporary relevance of a novel about a self-contained island ruled by its own heavy history. Yet one can’t help but read Zoe Gilbert’s tale of the village of Neverness, an inward-facing society imprisoned by the sea, as a dark historical mirror held up to the harried face of modern Britain.

Though described as a novel, Folk is more a tapestry of character studies and fables untethered from time, each of which works both as incantation and allegory – one chapter, Fishskin, Hareskin, won the Costa short story award for 2014.

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