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Enter the Water

On sale

5th October 2023

Price: £14.99

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781472158185

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‘A dark-light beauty’ Ali Smith

‘Totally compelling, Enter The Water pulls you along like a current. Gentle, deft, spacious yet searingly vivid, it wanders like our narrator and shows us both nature and the city through new eyes . . . This book will sneak up on you and leave its music long ringing in your ears’ Cecilia Knapp


Enter the Water is both visceral and perceptive, a discomfort formulated in great tenderness and pain’ Bhanu Kapil


‘Enter the Water has horizons and wit and allusion and rhyme and disenchanted politics and birds, and lines that hit the reader right in the heart . . . The writing is original and perfectly pitched . . . A significant debut’ Ian Patterson

i sat in a chapel the other night in my big gay coat
talking to a god whose answer is only sometimes no

no that was a lie
the house of god was closed the night i needed him
i sat outside on the granite steps of a fountain
happily pouring itself an eternal supply

ENTER THE WATER follows a young man who becomes homeless when he is evicted from his flat in Cambridge during the turbulent early months of 2022. As the wind stirs, our narrator embarks on a journey from his park bench out towards the coast, wrapped in his ‘big gay coat’, accompanied by his pigeons, a blackbird and Storm Eunice – ‘Nature’ in colourfully alive and playful forms. Along the way he searches for a beauty inherent to all of us, and then calls us to reclaim it.

ENTER THE WATER is a story invested in care – care towards the environment; towards the political realities of recession and the war in Ukraine; towards the dynamic self, the human whose love for swimming becomes synonymous with self-acceptance and survival; and to everyone, managing to manage.

Walking along the edges of our troubled current affairs, animated by a spirit of cheerful protest, this book is an offering and an urgent invitation to exit and re-enter our world – and to celebrate our capacity for courage in times of suffering.

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Reviews

Bhanu Kapil
Eviction, insomnia, techno-divination and mythologies that "begin with a bird" mark the psychic "circumference" of Enter the Water. This is "a narrative of trying" performed or lived as a book of poetry. Gates open unexpectedly, startling both the person exiting a space and the one peering in. It's this quality of being "both in and out always" that I most appreciate about Jack Wiltshire's writing. It's a place that's both visceral and perceptive, a discomfort formulated in great tenderness and pain. All the water in the book, all the animals and insects and birds: help. How "the felt-tip green of a butterfly" is a form of titration: a way to follow something, to look up, to stay connected, until it disappears
Kate Kellaway, Observer
Enter the Water tempts you to wade straight in. And it will take only the briefest of dips, a toe in the water, before you find yourself needing to read on... [Wiltshire's] writing is fresh, funny and serious
Philip Terry, Guardian
Part Beckett, part Robert Macfarlane on LSD
Ali Smith
A dark-light beauty
Ian Patterson
Enter the Water has horizons and wit and allusion and rhyme and disenchanted politics and birds, and lines that hit the reader right in the heart. The emotional depth and intellectual scope are extraordinary. The writing is original and perfectly pitched, the developing narrative shares an anger at the uncaring corruption of the world with an awareness that being a person means "it is lonely being at the centre of things". A significant debut.
Cecilia Knapp, author of Peach Pig
Totally compelling, Enter The Water pulls you along like a current. Gentle, deft, spacious yet searingly vivid, it wanders like our narrator and shows us both nature and the city through new eyes. With razor sharp questions and keen observations, our systems of power and privilege are destabilised and the precarity of existing in the current moment is exposed. This is a book full up to the throat with feeling; the intensity and inexpressibility of love, of uncertainty and displacement. But it's also funny, wry and original. This book will sneak up on you and leave its music long ringing in your ears