There is a dreamlike quality to Abi Palmer’s exquisite Sanatorium
. In lucid, gorgeous prose, she tells the story of a body, of illness and of navigating the complicated wellness industry; but ultimately this is a book about what it means to be alive. A striking, experimental debut that will stay with me.
is such an intricately structured book, combining memoir and poetry to hypnotic effect. Palmer creates a space entirely new and oddly familiar — embodied, startlingly direct and, by turns, claustrophobic and expansive. A prayer, a spell, a confession, a vision; the book morphs like the chronic pain it meticulously portrays with the clarity and confusion of an hallucination vs the confusion and clarity of life precisely observed with wit and intelligence. An urgent debut, alight with ideas — I loved every page.
I'm blown away... a sharp, original evocation of chronic pain, the strangeness of being in a body, and the incomprehension and sometimes cruelty of the able bodied.
[Palmer] brings the actuality of her physical pain vividly to life, communicating its texture viscerally and without pity.
Best poetry books of 2020 - Rishi Dastidar, The Guardian
The states of physical and metaphysical are so well drawn, they capture an essence of what it can be like to not be of this world while your body is firmly under the influence of gravity ... This is a beautifully constructed book full of important thoughts, lyrical poetry and prose, and stunning imagery that immerses the reader entirely.
Louise Kenward, Spooniehacker
Memoir and poetry in a mesmerising debut
Very fluid both in its form and also in its structure ... I think that a lot of disabled and chronically ill people will see themselves in this book ... really powerful.