A lost girl and a sprawling map of an unsettling city.
Wren Lithgow has followed her concert pianist mother around the cities of Europe for almost two decades. When they arrive in the mysterious city-state of O, where Wren was conceived during a time of civil war, she resolves to find man she believes is her father.
As the city closes in around her, Wren gives herself over to a place of which she understands nothing, but to which she feels a profound connection, in a story of the watchers and the watched, the ways in which we conceive of home and, finally, the possibility of living on our own terms.
Praise for Fox Fires
‘Fox Fires, Wyl Menmuir’s moving, mesmerising account of one bewildered girl adrift in a spy-soaked city, is like Kafka dished up by Calvino – that’s to say, it’s unnerving, magical, provoking, and the work of a fertile and powerful imagination.’ —Jim Crace
‘A sumptuously mysterious little masterpiece. I read it late into the night, biting my nails, entirely absorbed in the story of a lost girl in a sinister city.’ —Cathy Rentzenbrink
‘Wyl Menmuir’s gorgeously crafted new novel shows us the things we inevitably find when we’re trying to be lost.’ —Sarah Leipciger
‘An utterly absorbing, hypnotic novel.’ —Patricia Duncker
'A truly extraordinary novel, a sinister dream that might have been written by Kafka or Gogol.' — Patrick Gale
'I have a particular love for books like this, constructed with such care and meticulousness; each image overlapping and reflecting the ones before and after. Maps, patterns, paths; attempts to see and attempts to blind; revelations and occlusions - all combine to create something rich, original and powerful.’ Charlotte Hobson, author of The Vanishing Futurist.
'Menmuir is carving out a delicious niche for himself as the king of multiple layers of meaning' —Anna Caig, Sheffield Telegraph.
'Fox Fires is... to put it bluntly, extraordinary.' —@Charliecarroll1, author of The Lip.
'Wyl Menmuir's Fox Fires makes important points about identity and state bureaucracy — but how beguiling to do so through a haunting fairytale.' —Alex Peake-Tomkinson, The Spectator. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE.
'Finishing #FoxFires by @Wylmenmuir is like waking from a dream. Hypnotic, surprising, elegant, and with such a unique flavour, this is a darkly beguiling study of identity, belonging and truth, and the work of a formidable imagination. I loved it.' @StonexEmma, author of The Lamplighters.
'I loved this haunting beautiful story of a girl trying to find her past in this dystopian city of O. Menmuir’s writing has found that perfect balance of tenderness about Wren, whilst conveying the brutal heavy-handedness of an authoritarian state.' Paul Cheney, Halfman Halfbook. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE.
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016
Observer Best Fiction of 2016
Den of Geek Top Books of 2016
Joe Haddow, Producer Radio 2 Book Club, Top 10 Books of 2016
Published in Italy by Bompiani
Praise for The Many
‘An intriguing, evocative and formally ambitious debut.’
Luke Brown, Financial Times
‘Menmuir’s homespun horror has flashes of Daphne du Maurier’s ghost-gothic and John Wyndham’s dystopia while displaying its own individuality and flair … Menmuir steers a steady course; the result is profound and discomfiting, and deserving of multiple readings.’
Catherine Taylor, The Guardian
‘The sparse prose is dark and intense, strikingly written with a haunting quality that sends shivers through the soul.’
Walking Stories is a collection of five short stories based on the five inhabited islands of Scilly. Published by Islands Partnership in 2018, Wyl's story, Images I Did Not Capture With My Camera, is based on the island of St Martin's, and follows life on the island through the lens of a fisherman and photographer. The four other authors involved were Michael Morpurgo, Piers Lewin, Sam Llewellyn, and Marion Molteno.
You can listen to the stories in Walking Stories on the Visit Isles of Scilly website. Wyl's story, Images I Did Not Capture With My Camera is read by Ed Rowe, with music by Piers Lewin.
In Dark Places
‘There were once people who walked lightly. Who heard, in the space between their footsteps, reverberations and echoes of the fissures and caverns that lay below. Otherworlds and underworlds. Places that spoke to them.’
In Dark Places by Wyl Menmuir is the launch title for a series of pocket-size fiction, inspired by the history and environment of National Trust places.
In this darkly atmospheric story, a young couple on their honeymoon set out to explore Cheddar Gorge, only to find themselves increasingly distanced from one another as the presence of the claustrophobic caves closes in around them…
In 2018, In Dark Places was reprinted in Salt Publishing’s anthology, Best British Short Stories 2018 and online in The Barcelona Review.
Praise for In Dark Places
‘Thoroughly and delightfully brilliant. It has a thrilling sense of deep time. Inspirational.’
Rob Cowen, author of Common Ground
‘In Dark Places leads us ever-deeper into the Cheddar caves, away from the tourist shallows and towards an underworld where few people have ventured and still fewer come out. It’s a cool, polished tale that contains dizzying depths; a whispered ghost-story that makes a vast haunted house of the ground beneath our feet.
Xan Brooks, author of The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times
‘In Dark Places is immersive, a word that we can use for such a small fraction of the books out there. But it truly is… in this fantastic novella, it becomes clear that this writer sees more in the darkness than we readers see in the light.’
Rounds is a short story, published as a limited edition chapbook by Nightjar Press in November 2016.
Praise for Rounds
‘An absorbing and gorgeously eerie story with a lonely heart. The final, chilling scene is embedded in me like glass’
Alison Moore, author of The Lighthouse
A ‘short masterclass in balancing tone with an effective execution of tension.’
Swallowed by a Whale
Wyl's short essay, ‘A Long Game’, is published alongside the likes of David Mitchell, Carsten Jensen, Anthony Browne, Sarah Moss and Irvine Welsh in this gorgeous collection of essays about surviving the writing life edited and curated by Huw Lewis-Jones.
Features and book reviews
A local's guide to Falmouth, Cornwall (Guardian, 2018)
Waves and walks: the raw, romantic allure of Cornwall's Badlands (Guardian, 2018)
Taking Flight: an Isles of Scilly family adventure (Guardian, 2018)
Book review: As Kingfishers Catch Fire (Elementum, 2018)
Book review: The Fatal Tree by Jake Arnott (The Observer, 2017)