A young woman spends a month taking the waters at a thermal water-based rehabilitation facility in Budapest.
On her return to London, she attempts to continue her recovery using an £80 inflatable blue bathtub. The tub becomes a metaphor for the intrusion of disability; a trip hazard in the middle of an unsuitable room, slowly deflating and in constant danger of falling apart.
Sanatorium moves through contrasting spaces — bathtub to thermal pool, land to water, day to night — interlacing memoir, poetry and meditations on the body to create a mesmerising, mercurial debut.
“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” -Sinéad Gleeson
“Sanatorium 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” -Luke Kennard
“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” -Rebecca Tamás
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