*SHORTLISTED FOR THE GOLDSMITHS PRIZE 2019*
“There is not a single ordinary sentence in Isabel Waidner’s We Are Made of Diamond Stuff. A novel that reads like an act of sabotage, of resistance, written as a song-scream against our nullifying need to belong. It is charged with undeniable life, like some explosive projectile aimed at all our insidious narratives (nationalism, exclusionary culture, corporatism, conservatism and so much more). You hope it goes off, that it blows open everything in its sights—just so that you may ride out on its wake. It leaves you laughing, breathless but also heartbroken and hopeful, like the spirited survivors in the book itself. Like lightning, this novel. It is a furious work, stuffed with necessary power, purpose and also affection. And to borrow one of its lines to re-articulate it—Like the lypard, it navigates dimensions.”
—Guy Gunaratne, Goldsmiths Prize judge
“Isabel Waidner will save the nation & save our souls.”
“We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff evokes a topsy-turvy, highly animated world to explore a declining empire’s hopelessly fucked up inequities of class, race, queerness, and immigration status. At one point the narrator (who looks like Eleven from Stranger Things but who happens to be 36) blurts out, “Where’s reality, I want to change it.” This is one of the saddest lines I’ve ever read, perfectly rearticulating the “no there there” anxiety that Gertrude Stein attributed to modern life a century ago. In a world in which everything is stacked against them, Isabel Waidner’s resourceful characters survive, not just physically but spiritually as well. Despite their unflinching vision into virulent social practices, they never lose heart.”
We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff is an innovative and critically British novel, taking issue with the dream of national belonging. Set on the Isle of Wight, a small island off the south coast of England, it collides literary aesthetics with contemporary working class cultures and attitudes (B.S. Johnson and Reebok classics), works with themes of empire, embodiment and resistance, and interrogates autobiographical material including the queer migrant experience.
Cover art by Linda Stupart.
“A queer migrant’s reinvention abroad” by Elsa Court, Financial Times
“The Potent Mythology of the English Riviera” by Thom Cuell, Minor Literature[s]
“Liberating the Canon: An Interview with Isabel Waidner“, radio talk with Lara Alonso Corona for culture show Suite 212
“We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff” at Tank Magazine