Shalimar by Davina Quinlivan

Shalimar is dreamlike and full of sensation – Quinlivan constellates memory, place and belonging with such rarely-seen subtlety. This is a book that will weave its way into your thoughts and stay with you.’ Jessica J. Lee, author of Two Trees Make a Forest


In the spear-shaped tips of the trees, they breech their silence. Their faces peer out at me through English oaks and Burmese teak. Why did I relinquish them? I was never a Russian doll: it was me they harboured. They were still carrying me, pulling me deep into their mountainside of truth. There was a whole world inside there. They carve out, from the full moon in an English meadow, a silver spear for me. Now, the silver spear has become a Tibetan horse. She is running towards tomorrow.

Shalimar is a conjured place, but it is also an inheritance. A blend of nature-writing, magical realism and memoir, it is an incantation, but also a ship carrying a family safe inside, a sorrow-song and a fever dream.  This book tells the story of Quinlivan’s Anglo-Asian family whose extraordinary mythology haunts her own sense of time and place over the course of ten years and seven house moves through England, finally settling in rural Devon with a young family of her own. Quinlivan’s story takes on an Odyssean cadence as she meets her grandmother in the form of a teak tree in Ireland, trepasses through a replica of Virgil’s Tomb in a Lutyens garden in Surrey and comes face to face with the Green Man beneath ancient oaks in Hampshire. This book is sure to make its home in the heart of anyone who has ever moved, or migrated, however major or minor in scale.


Published March 2022.  Orders will be sent out on publication.


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Davina Quinlivan is a writer, filmmaker and academic. She holds a PhD in Film from King’s College London and she has taught in Higher Education for over 15 years.

Additional information

Weight400 g
Dimensions222 × 10 × 156 mm


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