Claire Kohda

Treacherous Old Father Thames

Set in the mid-19th-century, on the misty reaches of the Thames near Oxford, Setterfield’s novel is full of menace, murder and mystery

While its shape is famous — prominent on maps of London and Oxford — the Thames is ‘unmappable’, according to Diane Setterfield, because it not only ‘flows ever onwards, but is also seeping sideways, irrigating the land to one side and the other’. In Once Upon a River, she redefines the boundaries that separate land and water.

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