Book of the Month: The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

The Tidal Zone book cover

If you haven't read anything by Sarah Moss yet, start now – with our May Book of the Month, The Tidal Zone. Following a family going through an unexpected crisis, this wise and witty novel takes a magnifying glass to the NHS, parenting and the stories we tell about ourselves.

The Tidal Zone begins with the words 'Once upon a time…' but what follows is anything but a fairytale. When 15-year-old Miriam is found lying in the school playground not breathing, stay-at-home dad Adam and GP mum Emma find their world turned upside down. Suddenly, long hospital stays lacking conclusion and the constant weight of uncertainty become part of their everyday struggles. What is wrong with Miriam? And why has this happened to her?

The novel takes a look at the National Health Service, parenthood, and our own mortality, but also explores the narratives we tell ourselves – from birth, to our inevitable deaths. The Tidal Zone is one of those novels that feels like every page could be taken from real life, but its execution, with such razor-sharp wit and observations, makes it a real pleasure to read.

Sarah Moss's back catalogue boasts a diverse collection of books, on a wide range of topics – from nineteenth-century Pre-Raphaelitism in Bodies of Light to Cold Earth plague pandemic in Greenland. Here at Mumsnet Books, we're big fans of Sarah – Night Waking was our Book of the Month in May 2012, and Names For the Sea our non-fiction choice for July 2013. The Tidal Zone is tipped to be her breakout novel so jump on the bandwagon, quick!

Read the webchat

What Mumsnetters say

“If you are an intelligent culture-craving woman who has been through the madness and sleep deprivation of motherhood… you need to read Sarah Moss's Night Waking.”FaddyPeony

“Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland is the second book I've read by Sarah Moss and she's becoming one of my favourite authors. There's something about her style which really appeals to me.”tumbletumble

“Has anyone read Night Waking by Sarah Moss? She writes all night when her children are asleep… I think she is probably a MNer, she has the temperament!”AmazonsForEver

About the author

Sarah Moss

Sarah Moss is a Professor at the University of Warwick. She is the author of five novels: Cold Earth, Night Waking, Bodies of Light, Signs for Lost Children as well as The Tidal Zone and Names for the Sea – a memoir about living in Iceland. She has been shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize three times and the RSL Ondaatje prize once. She has written for the New Statesman, The Independent and BBC Radio, and has been a reviewer on Radio 4's Saturday Review.


Sarah Moss will be joining us to discuss the book during a webchat on Wednesday 7 June.


The giveaway is now closed. But you can still grab a paperback and join the discussion ahead of the author webchat.