We Are Made of Diamond Stuff

We Are Made of Diamond Stuff

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by Isabel Waidner

Released 21/04/22

Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize

Polar bears emerge from t-shirts. Reeboks come to life. Nothing is normal in the house of Mother Normal.

In Isabel Waidner’s second novel, we follow an unnamed narrator who looks like Eleven from Stranger Things, but is in fact a 36-year-old migrant working for minimum wage in a run-down hotel on the Isle of Wight. Along with their best friend, Shae, the narrator faces Ukip activists, shapeshifting creatures, and despotic bosses while trying to hold down their job and preparing for their Life in the UK test.

This is fiction that extends the avant-garde tradition beyond the upper-class experience that it usually chronicles – making it over as an ally of working-class queer experience. Set against a backdrop of austerity and decline, We Are Made of Diamond Stuff is an irreverent, boundary-erasing piece of work that celebrates the radical potential of resistance, ingenuity, and friendship.

Praise:

‘Daringly experimental, this is the cutting edge.’
Guardian

‘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, author of In Our Mad and Furious City

About the author:

Isabel Waidner is a writer and academic. They are the author of three novels: Sterling Karat Gold (2021), We Are Made of Diamond Stuff (2019) and Gaudy Bauble (2017). They are the winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2021, and were shortlisted for both, the Republic of Consciousness Prize (twice) and the Goldsmiths Prize in 2019. They are a co-founder of the event series Queers Read This at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and the programmer and presenter of This Isn’t a Dream, a fortnightly literary talk show, also hosted by the ICA via Instagram live.