BAD FRUIT is an unforgettable portrayal of a toxic mother-daughter relationship, and a young woman’s search for truth and liberation. It was snapped up by HarperFiction in a five-way auction – you can read more about it in the Bookseller here. It will appeal to fans of MY DARK VANESSA and Celeste Ng.
Just graduated from high school and waiting to start college at Oxford, Lily lives under the scrutiny of her volatile Singaporean mother, May, and is unable to find kinship with her elusive British father, Charlie. When May suspects that Charlie is having an affair, there’s only one thing that calms May down: a glass of perfectly spoiled orange juice served by Lily, who must always taste it first to make sure it’s just right.
As her mother becomes increasingly unhinged, Lily starts to have flashbacks that she knows aren’t her own. Over a sweltering London summer, all semblance of civility and propriety is lost, as Lily begins to unravel the harrowing history that has always cast a shadow on her mother. The horrifying secrets she uncovers will shake her family to its core, culminating in a shattering revelation that will finally set Lily free.
Beautiful and shocking, BAD FRUIT is as compulsive as it is thought-provoking, as nuanced as it is explosive. A masterful exploration of mothers and daughters, inherited trauma and the race to break its devastating cycle, BAD FRUIT will leave readers breathlessly questioning their own notions of femininity, race and redemption.
King was born to first-generation Singaporean parents and grew up in London. A graduate of Faber Academy’s “Writing A Novel” course, she came third in the Aurora Prize for Short Fiction 2019 and won the Blue Pencil Agency Pitch Prize 2019. Currently she works as a corporate lawyer in London and volunteers at anti-human trafficking and domestic violence charities. She is represented by Hellie Ogden at Janklow and Nesbitt, and BAD FRUIT will be published by HarperFiction on 18th August 2022. Penguin Randomhouse will publish in the US on August 23rd 2022.
Praise for BAD FRUIT
“Ella King opens up the fraught space between mother and daughter to reveal both the unbearable weight of inherited traumas as well as the uncontainable desire of a heart reaching for life. Bad Fruit cuts away the skin of a family as if a daughter could be a knife slicing through lies, pain, and fear. The heart hidden beneath all the secrets is sweet. The heart hidden beneath the secrets is hers. Breathtaking.” – Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Thrust and The Chronology of Water
“Beautiful, disturbing, impossible to put down. Bad Fruit heralds a seriously impressive new talent in Ella King.” – Chris Whitaker, bestselling author of We Begin At The End
“A compelling debut that fizzes with tension from start to finish, blending the subtle erudition of literary fiction with the drama and suspense of the very best thrillers. Masterful in its evocation of the complexity of mother-daughter relationships, this is a darkly fascinating, tightly plotted narrative from a writer to watch.” —Harper’s Bazaar (UK)
“Bad Fruit is at once a beautiful and harrowing novel which explores family dynamics, and tracks a journey of self-discovery. I am blown away by Ella’s talent for writing not only wonderful prose but complex and intriguing characters.” — L.V. Matthews, author of The Prank
“Bad Fruit is a beautiful collision of mothers and daughters, human darkness and human kindness, truth and lies, remembering and forgetting, trauma and healing.” —Sarah May, author of Becky