Claire Fuller

Claire Fuller was born in Oxfordshire, England. She has written three novels: Our Endless Numbered Days, which won the Desmond Elliott Prize; Swimming Lessons; and Bitter Orange. She has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester and lives in Hampshire with her husband.

Author photo: © Adrian Harvey

Praise

  • Timeless. . . . [a] shadowy family saga, which is marked by illicit love, violence and blood debts.

    —The Wall Street Journal

  • Engrossing.

    —Entertainment Weekly

  • A simple but powerful story of rural poverty, sibling relationships and, perhaps above all, resilience.

    —PureWow

  • Powerful. . . . fascinating.

    —BookRiot

  • A quiet tale of loss and survival.

    —Good Housekeeping

  • Transfixing.

    —Chicago Review of Books

  • An unnerving and emotional novel of family secrets, vulnerability and resilience.

    —Shelf Awareness

  • A winner.

    —The Center for Fiction

  • Rapturous.

    —The San Diego Union Tribune

  • One mystery after another arises and two siblings who have been left behind by the modern world face changes both gentle and profound.

    —The Daily Beast

  • A darkly poignant novel about an unusual family.

    —Texas Public Radio

  • Revelatory. . . .  a powerful, beautiful novel.

    —The Times (UK)

  • Fuller explores the painful realities of poverty and social isolation with immense sensitivity in this multilayered and emotionally astute novel.

    —The Guardian

  • An intriguing premise made more so by the paucity of novels featuring vulnerable older adults.

    —Financial Times

  • Superb.

    —Daily Mail

  • If you’re a reader who lives for contemplative storytelling and perfectly wrought characters, this author is for you.

    —BookPage

  • Ambitious.

    —The TLS

  • A page-turner. . . . reflecting the humble beauty of country life in every page, Unsettled Ground will appeal to a wide array of readers.

    —Harvard Review

  • An intriguing, moving novel that will make you question assumptions you have about modern life.

    —Tracy Chevalier

  • A book like Unsettled Ground is why we read. . . . Written with tenderness and beauty, Unsettled Ground is not to be missed.

    —Sherri Gallentine, Vroman’s Bookstore, BuzzFeed Best Books of Spring as Recommended by Booksellers

  • A gorgeously written and moving portrait of a family struggling against time.

    —Lucy Tan, author of What We Were Promised

  • Another sly psychological treat from Claire Fuller, who just keeps on getting better with each book.

    —Laline Paull, author of The Ice

  • Fuller’s prose is darkly elegant, her eye for character astute and humane, and her sense of place vividly atmospheric—here is a writer of great skill, sensitivity, and subtlety.

    —Lucy Atkins, author of Magpie Lane

  • Claire Fuller strikes the perfect balance between beauty and melancholy in this relevant and powerful exploration of isolation and life on the fringes of society.

    —Clare Mackintosh, author of After the End

  • Fuller has created a propulsive story that readers can’t help but get caught up in.

    —Necessary Fiction

  • Prepare for an experience of the English countryside that’s somewhat at
    odds with its typically idyllic depiction. . . . As the title suggests,
    at each turn there’s something new and unexpected.

    —Bookmarks

  • Wonderful. Unsettled Ground is a beautifully constructed book with interesting characters, and I’m convinced I won’t read a better one this year.

    —Ron Rash, The Boston Globe

  • Suffused with gorgeous little details.

    —Feminist Book Club

  • Fascinating.

    —The Star (Canada)

  • [Fuller’s] absorbing novel unsettles us with its fine evocation of life’s fragility while grounding us in the healing powers of love, loyalty and nature’s bounty.

    —Independent (IRE)

  • A story full of secrets in which nothing is quite as it seems.

    —New Books Network Podcast

  • Beautiful and intriguing.

    —Across the Pond Podcast

  • Devastatingly haunting.

    —Booklist, Starred Review

  • Evocative. . . . Fuller builds suspense over the twins’ fate and ends with a brilliant twist.

    —Publishers Weekly

  • You’ll find yourself desperately rooting for Julius and Jeannie.

    —The Weekly Reader

  • Fuller is a master of building suspense. . . . At once unsettling and hopeful, her book checks all the boxes of an engrossing mystery.

    —Kirkus Reviews

  • Fuller, a skilled stylist, is very good at letting you know Frances by degrees and at describing a setting in which the ordinary rules of life feel suspended . . . You can taste the wine, smell the musty fabrics and the overripe fruit, hear the hum of lazy insects and track the teasing suggesting that something will go terribly wrong.

    —The New York Times Book Review

  • Bitter Orange twists and bends, arouses and agitates, like a seductive nightmare. . . . With sensations so alive on the page, you’re constantly kept on your toes, attuned to the mania. You’ll ask, beguiled: What’s really going on here?

    —Entertainment Weekly

  • In her finely crafted psychological thriller Bitter Orange, the devilish novelist gives us a sunny, summery, open backdrop that nevertheless becomes a vise tightening around the throats of both the main character and the reader. Formula and genre can themselves be as suffocating as a coffin, but in such capable hands they become freeing, reinvigorated, and compelling.

    —NPR

  • Page by page, Fuller enchants us with prose as thick as clotted cream, only for us to realize too late that she’s been ensnaring us at every turn.

    —The Paris Review

  • Lovely and lush prose that only adds to the sense of dread pervading the novel . . . Bitter Orange is an absorbing exploration of the many lies we tell to others—and to ourselves.

    —Vulture, Best Crime Books of the Year

  • English mansion? Check. Dazzling couple? Check. Yearning outsider? Now you have all the ingredients for a psychological powder keg, ready to explode during the summer of ’69.

    —Elle, Most Anticipated Books of Fall

  • Fuller is a master of the quietly eerie; she’s excellent at creating an aura of pervasive dread—and sustaining it till the very last page.

    —NYLON, Best Books of Fall

  • Cannily releasing clues on the way to an explosive finale, Fuller moves fluidly between the time of the story and a period 20 years later . . . The lush setting and remarkable characters make for an immersive mystery.

    —Publishers Weekly

  • In the vein of Shirley Jackson’s bone-chilling The Haunting of Hill House, Fuller’s disturbing novel will entrap readers in its twisty narrative, leaving them to reckon with what is real and what is unreal. An intoxicating, unsettling masterpiece.

    —Kirkus, Starred Review

  • Fuller is a master of propulsive action, making the ground spin as each unreliable narrator takes center stage. Every measured sentence builds on itself with the crumbling estate providing the saturated backdrop for this ultimately macabre tale. Bitter Orange offers a gripping and unsettling look at the ugly side of extreme need and the desperate measures taken in the name of love.

    —Booklist, Starred Review

  • Fuller’s writing is seductive, brooding, twisty—it unsettles you quietly, slowly.

    —Goop

  • A literary mystery that fans of Sarah Waters, Daphne Du Maurier, and Shirley Jackson won’t want to miss. . . . This high intrigue, along with the inherent eeriness of the setting, makes Bitter Orange a perfect fall read.

    —Criminal Element

  • Exquisitely written and carefully paced, Bitter Orange imbues the dis-ease and sickening sweetness of old-fashioned literary horror with a new, modern flare . . . A haunting contemporary echo of Shirley Jackson and Patricia Highsmith.

    —Shelf Awareness, Starred Review

  • A twisty, thorny, darkly atmospheric page turner.

    —Gabriel Tallent, New York Times bestselling author of My Absolute Darling

  • Like Daphne du Maurier’s RebeccaBitter Orange sings, enchants, haunts. If not for Claire Fuller’s stunning language and mastery of control, I’d have succumbed to the temptation to blaze through these pages just to see how the suspense resolves. A beautiful novel.

    —Daniel Magariel, author of One of the Boys

  • A rich, dark pressure cooker of a novel that simmers with slow heat and suppressed tension.

    —Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin 10

  • Claire Fuller is such an elegant writer and this book is incredibly atmospheric, vivid, and intriguing. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t reading a forgotten classic.

    —Emma Healey, author of Elizabeth Is Missing

  • As she did in her first novel, Our Endless Numbered Days (2015), Fuller proves to be a master of temporal space, taking readers through flashbacks and epistolary chapters at a pace timed to create wonder and suspense. It’s her beautiful prose, though, that rounds this one out, as she delves deeply to examine the legacies of a flawed and passionate marriage.

    —Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

  • As in her gorgeously harrowing Our Endless Numbered Days, Claire Fuller returns to the territory of a mother’s disappearance and a father’s lies with bewitching and page-turning results. If anything, Swimming Lessons is an even more complex puzzle box of a book, excavating darkly knotted family secrets, intricately cruel betrayals and layers of ambiguous loss. Fuller is so clear eyed, poised and psychologically shrewd in the unfolding of her tale, you will be kept guessing until the final penetrating sentence. An extraordinarily smart and satisfying read.

    —Paula McLain, author of THE PARIS WIFE

  • Swimming Lessons continues Claire Fuller’s mastery of beautiful language and heartbreaking imagery, which lays bare the stories of infidelities, lies, revivals of love and then demise of those loves.  The women of this novel fight for their very souls, and their stories unfurl like flags of independence appearing in to wave from her landscape of great books and art and hope

    —Susan Straight, author of BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HERE

  • Claire Fuller has captured love in its fullest form, nursed on betrayal and regret and guilt. Gil cheats on and abandons his wife too many times, until she disappears, leaving her clothing on the beach, and he can’t know even if she’s still alive. She leaves only letters, hidden in a great library of books, and he’ll search for her until his end. Swimming Lessons is so smoothly, beautifully written, and the human failures here are heartbreaking.

    —David Vann, author of AQUARIUM

  • Claire Fuller’s acrobatic new novel, about a family who has failed each other, inverts our expectations of narrative time to an astonishing effect: our experience of grasping for truth about those who have left is just as pained and urgent as her characters’. Fuller’s sentences are condensed maps of the human process, unfolding in patterns we immediately recognize.

    —Kathleen Alcott, author of INFINITE HOME

  • Swimming Lessons hovers in the electric space between secrets and connection, between the desire to love and urge to hide. This is a biting, soaring novel.

    —Ramona Ausubel, author of SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF EASE AND PLENTY and NO ONE IS HERE EXCEPT ALL OF US

  • Fuller’s tale is eloquent, harrowing, raw . . . [this] mystery is sure to keep readers inching off their seats.

    —Kirkus Reviews

  • Saving the best for last with revelations and surprises, Fuller’s well-crafted, intricate tale captures the strengths and shortcomings of ordinary people to show how healing is possible by confronting the darkest places.

    —Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

  • When everything we read or watch these days seems to be a facsimile of something else, it’s inspiring when a writer of Claire Fuller’s talent comes along to give us something fresh and original. In Swimming Lessons, Fuller explores the all too familiar pull of duty, expectation, and guilt between a family in emotional turmoil with an unsentimental eye, recalling some of the best work of the late, great Richard Yates. Fuller’s debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, was nothing short of brilliant and I’m here to tell you that she has officially avoided a sophomore slump with this gem of a book. My only complaint is that I have to wait until January of 2017 to share this with the reading public. Claire Fuller is my new favorite.

    —Javier Ramirez, The Book Table

  • Claire Fuller is a master of the psychological mystery. In her most recent novel, Swimming Lessons, no one is running around with a gun and no physical violence occurs. And yet damage happens. Families are cut to the bone. And lingering wounds are left festering into adulthood. This is a work that explores the very nature of forgiveness: how much should be forgiven before it becomes a burden, or before it becomes a secret life inside you until you can”t even forgive yourself? It’s a deliciously written story within a story that isn’t over until the last page has been turned.

    —Pam Cady, University Book Store

  • With Swimming Lessons, Claire Fuller confirms her place as a writer of exceptional insight and warmth. This tale of a marriage, of a family, and especially of children bearing the brunt of the fallout of betrayals and abandonment, pulls you in and refuses to let you emerge from the lives of its characters until the tale is finally told. Even then it takes time to shake the spell the book creates. A wonderful follow-up to OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS that explores similar themes through an entirely different story, Swimming Lessons will be a great book for fans of her first novel and for new fans alike.

    —Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books

  • Claire Fuller’s Swimming Lessons is a beautifully told literary mystery that weaves together the lives and loves of people defined by deceit and a questionable disappearance. Like her debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, Fuller tiptoes brilliantly through delicate subjects.

    —Joanne Berg, Mystery to Me

  • I loved it and was caught up in it so thoroughly that it was my companion during every meal I ate until I finished the book. I have also never felt so inclined to leave marginalia in a book as I did after reading Swimming Lessons.

    —Katie Orphan, The Last Bookstore

  •  I could not put Swimming Lessons down and read it in one sitting! It lingered in my thoughts long after I finished. Marvelous! A must read!

    —Stephanie Crowe, Page and Palette Bookstore