Folk by Zoe Gilbert is a dark and unsettling, yet simultaneously beautiful and stunning novel based around folklore. Set in the small island of Neverness, Folk revolves around the various traditions, stories, and experiences of the townspeople. Many different characters are explored throughout the novel, from hunched Gertie to winged Verlyn to talented May. Neverness seems to be a world away from our own, whimsical and disconcerting, the whole island appears to be shrouded in myths and magic.
While a novel, the book is composed of many different stories, one of which being ‘Fishskin, Hareskin,’ which won the Costa Short Story Award in 2014. These stories often start off as almost innocent, but usually take dark turns towards the end, in which the reader often finds out a shocking truth. Despite this, you can never be quite sure if what you’re assuming is true, making the book only more mysterious.
The writing style is wistful, stories woven together as though from the magical mist that hangs in Neverness, creating a book that will fully immerse the reader. Looking up from the book was as though waking from an obscure dream, without fully realising when you fell asleep or woke up.
Folk is an exquisite, enchanting book, filled with haunting stories written wonderfully. This book will occupy every waking thought, not to mention many dreams. While not suitable for younger readers, this book will leave all who read it captivated and enthralled.