Outside of Eden

Outside of Edenby Helen Nathaniel-Fulton
Published in Silence Press, 2023
212 pages, £10.99
ISBN 978-1-7399434-2-4


Outside of Eden is 'memoir fiction', a piece of a real life fashioned into a story. An autobiographical novel in the form of self-contained titled chapters, it takes us through the extraordinary experiences of a woman from her teens to her mid-thirties, a time where she starts consciously to observe, live, learn and be challenged. Her personal journey moves from the 1970s to 1990, travelling from Swansea to Aberystwyth, on to West Germany, and from there to Kenya, but it's not a straightforward travelogue: it's also about reaching under someone else's skin or into their mind, sharing their feelings and the impact of events as they study, love, work and encounter strange and wonderful people in these different places. A process of discovery and recovery, from childhood to maturity, full of humour and heartbreak. It's about the leaving behind of a small piece of Eden, and trying to find something like it again. We always feel we are the only ones to have a particular thought, defect, problem or grief, and it can be cathartic in itself to find you're not.

Helen Nathaniel Fulton's electric combination of the visceral and compassionate invites the reader into her memories of post-war Germany where, as a student worker, she competes with immigrants for a range of appallingly brutal and mind-numbing jobs. She witnesses overt racism towards and among the immigrants, and must endure sexism towards herself. The decepetively calm tone draws the reader in, as though these stories are being related over a cup of coffee - but watch out for those narrative swerves! It's a riveting read and belongs on your bedside table.'

- Sandra Hunter, author of Losing Touch (From reviews of the anthology Of Myths and Mothers)

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