Claire Merle's debut novel, The Glimpse, was published in the UK on June 5th, and I'm very happy to be part of the blog tour! Here's more about the book from publishers Faber and Faber:
Throughout England people are now divided into Pures and Crazies according to the results of a DNA test, with the Pures living in small Communities cut off from the madness of society, and the Crazies living outside the walls in the squalor and mayhem of the City. Until the age of fifteen, Ana has lived a privileged existence amongst the Pures, but her whole world crumbles when she finds out that there was a mistake with her Pure test. She is actually one of the Crazies, and one day in the near or distant future she will become sick.
But Ana has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell. Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana's defects, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a conditional reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana's joining ceremony looms closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a 'normal' life. But then Jasper disappears.
Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper's abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.
Here's an exclusive extract of The Glimpse with an introduction from Claire Merle. Enjoy!
Hi! Thank you for having me here as part of The Glimpse blog tour. Today I’m sharing with you an extract from the beginning of The Glimpse, where 17-year-old Ana is supposed to bind with Pure-boy Jasper Taurell. The binding is the first official step in a month long process where the couple gets to know each other. At the end of the month they will finally decide if they wish to be joined, which is like getting married except that Pures are not allowed to divorce. Hope you enjoy it.
Ana waved goodbye. Behind her the huddle of chattering girls grew tense and silent. A lady in a brown suit opened the wrought-iron gates and beckoned them forwards. Mothers kissed their daughters goodbye. Joining planners made last-minute tucks of hair and sweeps of lip gloss. Ana was the first up the paving stone path to the listed Queen Anne house. She imagined the superintendent registrar would have said something if they were missing a male binding participant. But then the woman had barely looked at the girls, so maybe she wouldn’t know if the count was off. They paused at the black front door, allowing the others to catch up. Ana focused on inhaling and exhaling but she felt as though she’d forgotten how to breathe.
‘We will now proceed to the music room,’ the registrar said as the last two girls tottered up. Breathe, bend leg at knee, lift foot, bend other leg. Thank goodness her heart continued to beat on its own, even if it was way too fast. Ana followed the registrar into the hallway and first left. The music room lay at the front of the house. Wood-panelled walls glowed honey-brown in the afternoon light. The young men stood twelve feet away with their backs facing the door. Two rows of three. Six sets of dark-suited shoulders. Seven girls. Ana lost her footing. Pastel colours rippled around her as the other girls swept across the wooden floor to join their respective partners. Chest pain, dizziness and shortness of breath are all symptoms of a panic attack, she warned herself. You cannot have a panic attack. She pressed her toes against the soles of her low-heeled shoes.
A plump girl reached the centre of the room and pivoted in confusion. At the same time the remaining young man glanced back. Oval face, dimpled chin, wavy hair. Jasper’s hazel eyes met Ana’s and the tension inside her burst. She wobbled towards him feeling light-headed.