A literary debut covering family secrets, intergenerational friendships, love, damage, and medicine
At 21, Tallulah Park lives alone in a grimy bedsit. There’s a sink in her bedroom and a strange damp smell that means she wakes up wheezing. Then she gets the call that her father has had a heart attack. Years before, she was being tossed around her difficult family; a world of sniping aunts, precocious cousins, emigrant pianists, and lots of gin, all presided over by an unconventional grandmother. But no one was answering Tallie’s questions: why did Aunt Vivienne loathe Tallie’s mother? Why is everyone making excuses for her absent father? Who was Uncle Jack and why would no one talk about him?
As Tallie grows up, she learns the hard way about damage and betrayal, that in the end, the worst betrayals are those we inflict on ourselves.
This is her story about the journey from love to loss and back again.
“Exquisite and understated, Kat Gordon lays out the terrible loneliness of a child at the centre of an exploded, secretive family. It is an autopsy of how we love and an exploration of forgiveness, both disturbing and shimmering in deceptive simplicity.” Liza Klaussmann, author of Tigers in Red Weather
“A compulsive family drama, The Artificial Anatomy of Parks explores the devastating effects of keeping secrets. Kat Gordon deftly tells the story of Tallulah’s past, building to a dramatic, unputdownable conclusion in her present. An excellent read.” Emma Chapman, author of How To Be a Good Wife
“A remarkable talent! Deceiving in its effortlessness, Gordon’s prose sizzles with experience. Highly addictive and acutely observed, press this novel into the hands of anyone who has grown despite a dysfunctional family and offer a canny nod. The Artificial Anatomy of Parks is unexpectedly poignant and really rather excellent.” Caroline Smailes, author of The Drowning of Arthur Braxton
“A compellingly-paced and emotionally-absorbing debut novel; the tangles and tragedies of Tallulah Park’s young life, past and present, are captivating, as are her vivid characters and vibrant, complex relatives. A wonderful read.” Annabel Harrison, Editor of The Kensington & Chelsea Magazine
“A clever, funny and touching exploration of family mysteries and secrets. The unravelling of Tallulah’s world is gripping and, at times, heart-breaking. This is a debut novel of accomplishment and promise.” Susanna Jones, author of When The Nights Were Cold
“Kat Gordon’s heart-piercing psychological drama marks her as a master of character and dialogue. Gordon’s singularly fascinating protagonist leads us through mind twisting layers of deception to the generational origin of one family’s pain, and the roots of her own salvation. This book is a stunner.” Carol Cassella, author of Oxygen and Gemini.
“Kat Gordon has a gift for unravelling the complexity, the quirkiness and the destructiveness of family life. Through Tallulah we experience the corrosive nature of secrets and the painful truth that those closest to us sometimes turn out to be strangers. A perfect balance of light and shade with a cast of quirky, engaging and achingly real characters. A great debut.” Virginia MacGregor, author of What Milo Saw