Briefly, A Delicious Life

Briefly, A Delicious Life tells the story of Frederic Chopin, George Sand and a mischievous teenage ghost Blanca. It is a novel about convention and breaking convention, about love – secret, forbidden, unrequited, about art and creativity, men and women and the violence they mete out to one another. You can read more about this fascinating title in the bookseller here.

In 1838 Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and her children travel to a monastery in Mallorca. They are there to create and to convalesce, to live a simple life after the wildness of their Paris days.

Witness to this tumultuous arrival is Blanca, the ghost of a teenage girl who has been at the monastery for over three hundred years. Blanca’s was a life cut short and she is outraged. Having lived in a world full, according to her mother, of ‘beautiful men’, she has found that in death it is the women she falls for, their beauty she cannot turn away from, and it is the women and girls who, over her centuries in the village and at the monastery, she has sought to protect from the attentions of men with what little power she has. And then George Sand arrives, this beautiful woman in a man’s clothes, and Blanca is in love.

But the rest of the village is suspicious of the newcomers, and as winter sets in, as George tries to keep her family and herself from falling apart, as Chopin writes prelude after prelude in despair on his tuneless piano, their stay looks likely to end in disaster . . .

Nell Stevens lives in London, where she lectures in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths University. She has a PhD in Victorian literature from King’s College London, and an MFA in Fiction from Boston University. Her debut book Bleaker House was published in 2017 by Picador. It is part memoir, part travelogue and part story collection, exploring the narrow spaces between real life and fiction. Nell is represented by Rebecca Carter at Janklow and Nesbitt, and Briefly, A Delicious Life will be published by Picador in June 2022.

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