Names for the Sea

Sarah Moss

Published: 4 July 2013
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 368 pages
ISBN: 9781847084163

About the author

Image of Sarah Moss

Sarah Moss was educated at Oxford University and is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. She is the author of four novels: Cold Earth, Night Waking, which was selected for the Fiction Uncovered Award in 2011, Bodies of Light and Signs for Lost Children; and the co-author of Chocolate: A Global History. She spent 2009-10 as a visiting lecturer at the University of Reykjavik, and wrote an account of her time there in Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland (Granta 2012), which was shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2013. Her novel The Tidal Zone will be published by Granta in summer 2016. More about the author


‘[Moss] sheds light on the strangeness of the country for an outsider as well as on the Icelanders' ongoing trauma... Absorbing’ Emily Read



‘A fascinating and unusual book, a genuine news from nowhere, the gripping account of one person thinking and perceiving for herself’ Joanna Kavenna

‘A thoughtful and moving description of a country’ Giles Foden

‘A wonderful, meditative and informative introduction to a country that's both progressive and steeped in more myths, legends and sagas than any other... All Icelandic life is here’

‘A wry memoir about a family who move to Iceland for a year in the aftermath of the financial crash. Moss discovers as much about herself as she does the Icelanders she writes about.’ Destination books this summer

‘A wry, intimate and beautifully-observed portrait of a culture both alien and familiar. Sarah Moss's account of her Icelandic sojourn is a vicarious treat’ Philip Marsden

‘Always illuminating’

‘An insightful account of a year in a beguiling but often incomprehensible land of fire and ice... this is a delightful tale with a strong sense of place’ Duncan Mills


‘Beautifully written ... Moss grapples with new foods, customs and landscapes that are both oddly familiar and wildly alien in this absorbing memoir’ Carl Wilkinson

‘Fantastic and perceptive... Moss is so subtle and skilled at what she does, as careful and precise a prose specialist as you will find, that it hangs together seamlessly and brilliantly’

‘Her wit, like her sensitivity to social matters, is complemented by her astoundingly alert writing about the natural world’ Kevin Canfield

‘Holds an uncompromising mirror up to the British life that she has left behind. Honest, funny, frank, and insightful, it is a reassuring guide to the strangeness of being a stranger. An enviable experience beautifully described’ Gavin Francis

‘It is Moss's inquisitive excursions into the real and imagined Icelandic landscapes that enthral the most... engaging [and] expressive’ Rob St John

‘Moss is a wry and a very good companion... and her book is as perceptive of the southern English middle-classes, as it is of Icelanders’ Kathleen Jamie

‘Moss writes honestly... She mocks her won cultural assumptions drily’ Nancy Campbell

‘One of the most enjoyable travel books I've read’ Helen Rumbelow

‘This delightful and appealing book is written in a crisp and insightful style... filled with descriptions of the northern landscape which capture it perfectly... Very funny’

‘This tale perfectly evokes the country's natural splendours, but it's the colourful cast of friends and hangers-on that is so touching’

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