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Practice

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781399614535

Price: £18.99

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Six o’clock in the morning, Sunday, at the worn-out end of January.

In a small room in an Oxford college, cold and dim and full of quiet, an undergraduate student works on an essay about Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Annabel has a meticulously planned routine for her day – work, yoga, meditation, long walks; no apples after meals, no coffee on an empty stomach – but finds it repeatedly thrown off course. Despite her efforts, she cannot stop her thoughts slipping off their intended track into the shadows of elaborate erotic fantasies.

And as the essay’s deadline looms, so too does the irrepressible presence of other people: Annabel’s boyfriend Rich, keen to come and visit her; her family and friends who demand her attention; and darker crises, obliquely glimpsed, all threatening to disturb the much-cherished quiet in her mind.

Exquisitely crafted, wryly comic, and completely original, Practice is a novel about the life of the mind and the life of the body, about the repercussions of a rigid routine and the deep pleasures of literature.

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Reviews

A detailed and lyrical ode to one young woman's way of being, and to the little rituals that guide her. I found Practice to be both cautionary and rousing. A candid portrait of a day in a tightly controlled life
Chloë Ashby, author of Second Self
Practice totally won me over, not least on account of its many passages of exquisite writing
Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
A day in the life of an introspective and erudite student, Practice makes clear the gulf between an interior life and the one that is presented to the world. Rosalind Brown has a rare ability to record - with great humour, originality and near-hallucinogenic precision - the significance, or not, of each tumbling moment and thought
Jennifer Higgie, author of The Mirror and the Palette
Rosalind Brown's impressive debut novel deliciously combines the elaborate formality of a Shakespeare sonnet with the fully realised embodiment of a less ambiguous age. And its preoccupations - love, desire, identity - are timeless
Catherine Taylor, author of The Stirrings
I had a lot of fun with Practice by Rosalind Brown. I think only she and Proust can get me into the space where I'm happy to read about someone walking across a room for all these pages. You're reading about reading; you have to be really good to do that in a compelling way.
Helen Oyeyemi, author of Parasol Against the Axe
I was absolutely blown away by Rosalind Brown's Practice. It's a true marvel. It was unlike anything I've ever read before; to read it felt like meditation. I lost myself in every perfect, surprising sentence, in its painfully acute observations. Every day I looked forward to the hour I would spend reading it: I was awed by the care of it, the beauty, the tautness, the way it made the everyday transcendent
Elizabeth Macneal, author of The Doll Factory
Rosalind Brown's novel captures with singular precision the perverse and seductive nature of closely reading a work of literature: of sitting with a text, internalising it, living around it, so that the language becomes entangled with our daily routines, banalities and pleasures. Here, the seasonal rhythms of the campus novel are compressed stylishly into a single day. What emerges amid the brilliantly observed details of one woman's interior life is an allegory for reading as a means of inhabiting literature at the deepest level - while making a discrete literary achievement of its own
Sam Buchan-Watts, author of Path Through Wood
Practice is rich and precise and intelligent. I started counting up paradoxes: a novel about restriction that stages beautiful questions about fantasy; a novel limited to a single day that swoops among time frames; a novel where containment allows for bravura stylistic power. It's a unique novel, and Rosalind Brown is a unique - and wonderful - novelist
Adam Thirlwell, author of The Future Future
Practice won me round with its good writing. A beautifully written meditation on the contentments of reading. Rosalind Brown feels like the real thing
Andrew Miller, author of Pure
From the narrowest and most confined of premises, Rosalind Brown has conjured a novel as big as a world. Reading this book is a strange and shimmering joy; a glimpse of a miracle
Jon McGregor, author of Reservoir 13