Anja is a young, ambitious antiquarian, passionate for the clean and balanced lines of mid-century furniture. She is intent on classifying objects based on emotional response and when her career goes awry, Anja finds herself adrift. Like a close friend, she confesses her intimacies and rage to us with candour, tenderness, and humour.
Cast out from the world of antiques, she stumbles upon a beachside cottage that the neighbouring naval base is offering for a 100-year lease. The property is derelict, isolated, and surrounded by scrub. Despite of, or because of, its wildness and solitude, Anja uses the last of the inheritance from her mother to lease the property. Yet a presence - human, ghost, other - seemingly inhabits the grounds.
Hydra is a novel of dark suspense and mental disquiet, struck through with black humour., Adriane Howell beguilingly explores notions of moral culpability, revenge, memory, and narrative - all through the female lens of freedom and constraint. She holds us captive to the last page.