Sarah Bernstein

Sarah Bernstein is from Montreal, Quebec and lives in the Northwest Highlands. Her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in places like tender, Contemporary Women’s Writing, MAP and Room Magazine. She teaches modern and contemporary literature.

Her first novel The Coming Bad Days was published by Daunt Books Originals in 2021.

Selected praise:

‘Sarah Bernstein’s debut novel, The Coming Bad Days…takes distance as its central concern, using the form of fiction to think about how we live with other people’s utter unknowability…There is a Cuskian severity…But there is also something beautiful in the novel’s willingness to be in a space of ambiguity, its search for “[a] fragile consensus … Something about refusal, about changing language, ordering anew, possibility. I groped for the thought.”…The Coming Bad Days fine-tunes the reader into more sensitive ways of being in the world; it identifies the signals of truth emitted from that hard-to-locate source, the place where we understand everything we can’t admit to ourselves.’ – Lauren Elkin, The Guardian

‘A startling and inventive piece of work about the absurdity and difficulty of being alive….What marks this debut out is the quality of the writing, a searing style that vividly portrays the experiences of a troubled woman. The clinical voice of the unnamed narrator is balanced with stylish prose – lucid, propulsive writing that is exquisitely crafted. Although this book deals with 21st-century preoccupations, the level of craft and formal tone hark to an earlier era. There is a Jamesian quality to the prose.’ – Irish Times

‘Deeply moving. Sarah Bernstein manages to combine cool, perfectly weighted prose with an extraordinary emotional sensibility. Every sentence is polished and replete.’ – Fiona Mozley 

‘Sinewy and seductive. A beautiful, mysterious, existential shudder of a book, and a map of disorientation.’ – Olivia Sudjic