It is a clear crisp autumn day today. Although the sunshine is bright, it contains more than a hint of winter. The leaves are falling fast, but the woods are still a kaleidoscope of burnished colours. Walking with the dog (mercifully, early enough to miss the shooters), I noticed that last week’s dismal mists and drizzle have coaxed out some glorious displays of fungi. Most people would have recognised the fly agarics beneath the birches, but particularly impressive to me was a cohort of tiny orange bracket fungi which had formed a symmetrical pattern across the whole of a fallen forked branch. It reminded me immediately of Laura Ellen Joyce’s impressive debut novel The Museum of Atheism. It will be published by Salt on November 15th
and I have been privileged to read an advance copy. It is about the murder of a child beauty queen and its theme is moral decay. Laura reinforces this by opening each chapter with a short description of a species of fungus, which is brilliantly effective. Check it out on the Salt website.