Private Rites: A Novel (Hardcover)

Private Rites: A Novel By Julia Armfield Cover Image
Coming soon - available for pre-order now


From the award-winning author of Our Wives Under the Sea, a speculative reimagining of King Lear, centering three sisters navigating queer love and loss in a drowning world

It’s been raining for a long time now, so long that the land has reshaped itself and arcane rituals and religions are creeping back into practice. Sisters Isla, Irene, and Agnes have not spoken in some time when their father dies. An architect as cruel as he was revered, his death offers an opportunity for the sisters to come together in a new way. In the grand glass house they grew up in, their father’s most famous creation, the sisters sort through the secrets and memories he left behind, until their fragile bond is shattered by a revelation in his will.

More estranged than ever, the sisters’ lives spin out of control: Irene’s relationship is straining at the seams; Isla’s ex-wife keeps calling; and cynical Agnes is falling in love for the first time. But something even more sinister might be unfolding, something related to their mother’s long-ago disappearance and the strangers who have always seemed unusually interested in the sisters’ lives. Soon, it becomes clear that the sisters have been chosen for a very particular purpose, one with shattering implications for their family and their imperiled world.

About the Author

Julia Armfield is the author of the story collection salt slow and the novel Our Wives Under the Sea. Her work has been published in Granta, The White Review, Best British Short Stories 2019 and 2021, Lighthouse, and various other publications. She is the winner of the White Review Short Story Prize and a Pushcart Prize, and she was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2019. She lives and works in London.

Praise For…

“Slick and slippery, Julia Armfield's latest novel is the author at her finest. Private Rites is committed to plumbing the depths of what might be unknowable: the monstrous, inexorable thrust of climate change and the delicate, dangerous tangle of family and sisterhood. Armfield writes the kind of books that stick with you for life. I am proud to be one of her biggest fans.”
—Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author of With Teeth

Private Rites has the elemental power of a thunderstorm and the thrilling emotional honesty of a first kiss. Julia Armfield is an era-defining writer.”
—Kaliane Bradley, author of The Ministry of Time

Private Rites is lyrical, haunting, unsettling, and J.G. Ballard-ian in apocalyptic scope. What makes the novel soar even as its world drowns are the sisters—Iris, Irene, and Agnes—who are deeply, passionately, messily human.”
—Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts

“It's a book of extraordinary sentences, set in end-times which feel bleakly real yet pulse with a tireless, tangible force of love.”
—Megan Hunter, author of The End We Start From

“The rainsoaked world of Privates Rites is one you'll want to linger in: despite the creeping sense of dread, the characters and relationships Armfield has created are totally compelling. An astonishing ambitious novel that won't let you go.”
—Sarvat Hasin, author of The Giant Dark

“Delivered with Armfield’s signature cocktail of deadpan wit and staggering beauty, Private Rites is a sharply observed exploration of grief, family and the end of the world as we know it.”
—Alice Slater, author of Death of a Bookseller

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250344311
ISBN-10: 125034431X
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: December 3rd, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English