As gripping as Room, as powerful as Elizabeth is Missing, Beside Myself is the story of twin sisters, a childhood game with devastating consequences and the slippery nature of identity Helen and Ellie are identical twins - like two peas in a pod, everyone says. The girls know this isn't true, though: Helen is the leader and Ellie the follower. Until they decide to swap places: just for fun, and just for one day. But Ellie refuses to swap back...And so begins a nightmare from which Helen cannot wake up. Her toys, her clothes, her friends, her glowing record at school, the favour of her mother and the future she had dreamed of are all gone to a sister who blossoms in the approval that used to belong to Helen. And as the years pass, she loses not only her memory of that day but also herself - until eventually only 'Smudge' is left. Twenty-five years later, Smudge receives a call from out of the blue. It threatens to pull her back into her sister's dangerous orbit, but if this is her only chance to face the past, how can she resist? Beside Myself is a compulsive and darkly brilliant psychological drama about family and identity - what makes us who we are and how very fragile it can be.
As gripping as Room, as powerful as Elizabeth is Missing, Beside Myself is the story of twin sisters, a childhood game with devastating consequences and the slippery nature of identity
Morgan's book is an unsettling performance ... It reads like a particularly ingenious misery memoir ... Impressive Sunday Times An unsettling, compelling debut about identity and not-so-happy families Glamour This is not just a blisteringly clever novel about identity; it also focuses on the grim hold mental illness can take on sufferers and the challenges they face in an uncaring society Independent A compulsive, dark and strikingly well-written novel that grips from the first page until long after the last Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall This disturbing novel describes the damage done when selfhood is compromised, exploring genetics, addiction, depression and the effects of family history. An uneasy read ... But it is compelling Mail on Sunday, "Best of New Fiction" Ann Morgan's Beside Myself is a gripping, savage tale about a lost generation, shipwrecked in a brainless celebrity culture or choosing rebellion, drugs and rage. Full of twists and surprises, this thrilling novel will leave you both shaken and stirred Patricia Duncker, author of Sophie and Sybil Elegantly written and there are a couple of nice twists embedded in the narrative ... Morgan's knack is to have us care for both sisters despite their occasionally monstrous behaviour. She makes no excuses for them and sugars no pills - these are three-dimensional characters making the best of a largely awful upbringing **** -- Paul Connolly Metro A dark tale of addiction and mental illness. This sinister thriller is set for big things Stylist Creepy, clever and compulsive, it will stay with you for a long time Heat A dark, taut and utterly compelling read Sun An accomplished read with an excellent plot and a brilliant, multi-layered narrative voice ... Taut and compulsive Herald A very clever and compelling novel about the ways in which we construct our own identity, and the ways in which it is constructed for us. It's also a poignant reminder of the sense of powerlessness we feel as children, and how firmly and definitively our lives are shaped by others whilst we're still young. I raced through it, but it lingered in my mind after I'd finished it. This is such a powerful and satisfying novel -- Rebecca Wait, Author of The Followers Psychological chiller about twin girls (always scary - remember The Shining?) who swap places for the day. Identity is more fluid than we thought Grazia Identical twins Helen and Ellie decide to trade places for a day to confuse their parents, but things get out of hand when one sister refuses to switch back Love It! This psychological thriller about mental illness and identity has twists at every turn Sun, 'Fabulist' Beside Myself is a dark and urban fairytale in which the stuff of nightmares is made literal when twin sisters decide to play an innocuous-seeming game. A most modern and metropolitan fairytale ... Fabulous Lucy Caldwell, author of All the Beggars Rising An exquisitely written and chillingly suspenseful debut. This story unnerved me in all the right ways with its constant surprises and unexpected twists. Ann Morgan has made her mark with this powerful novel, and I look forward to whatever she writes next David Bell A compelling read Scotsman It's not often we find a new book the whole office agrees on, but Ann Morgan has written that very thing ... As gripping and powerful as Room Reader's Digest This is an accomplished read with an excellent plot and a brilliant, multi-layered narrative voice ... There is no doubt this is a taut and compulsive read Woman's Way
Ann Morgan is a freelance writer and editor based in London. Ann's writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Independent, the Financial Times, the Australian and the New Internationalist, and she was a finalist in the Guardian's International Development Journalism Competition 2010. She has also sub-edited for publications including Tatler and Vanity Fair. Following the success of her project to read a book from every country in 2012, Ann continues to blog about international literature at ayearofreadingtheworld.com. Her first book, Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer, was published to great critical acclaim in 2015. Beside Myself is her first novel. annmorgan.me @A_B_Morgan