What The Word On The Street is Reading: Emberton

This week our Programming Assistant, Cindy Pang, has been reading Emberton. This novel was written by Peter Norman, and published in March by Douglas & McIntyre. Peter Norman will be appearing at this year’s festival on September 21st, reading at the Great Books Marquee.

Emberton Cover_D&M2014 (less)About the book

Is nothing sacred? If you can’t trust language, what can you trust? Poet Peter Norman’s first novel, Emberton, is a gothic romp through language, where etymologists deceive and lie about word origins, publishing house marketing departments are full of bizarre and self-destructive employees, who often vanish altogether, and all the while something sinister thrives on the power of words.

Take one illiterate protagonist, Lance Blunt, one eerie dictionary publisher, Emberton Publishing, a beautiful (but realistically pale) etymologist, Elena, and a malevolent entity that is bent on draining the world of human language, and you have a comic literary gothic novel aimed at lovers of books and language who also appreciate a dose of genre and a dash of humour. Think Jasper Fforde meets Eats, Shoots & Leaves meets Frankenstein meets Douglas Adams.

Q&A with Cindy


What drew you to the book?

“As a bibliophile and lover of all things creepy, I was instantly drawn to the idea of a mystery revolving around the odd goings-on of a sinister publishing house.”

Did you enjoy the book?

“I absolutely loved it! Norman’s writing is incredibly rich and expressive, and he manages to create such an engrossing read that I honestly had to stop a few times and remind myself that I wasn’t really trapped inside Emberton Tower and that the fate of the Word didn’t actually rest in my hands.”

Would you recommend the book?

“Of course! Emberton is a wonderful debut novel by a gifted poet and, like the fictional Emberton Dictionary, the story “that lives inside [the] book” is sure to thrill any reader.”

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