Delivery Location
ISBN 978-1-909585-35-5
First published September 2020; 208 pp paperback with endpapers; 198 x 129 mm
click here to read a pdf of the Contents page.

Will Eaves is a novelist and poet. Previous to his CBe titles he published three novels with Picador and poetry with Carcanet. He has worked as Arts Editor at the TLS and Associate Professor at the University of Warwick. He is a columnist for the Brixton Review of Books and co-host with Professor Sophie Scott of The Neuromantics, a podcast on science and literature. He is a judge of the 2020 Goldsmiths Prize.

Will Eaves  Broken Consort
Essays, reviews, and other writings


‘We are taught by what we find … And what we find, we have to give away.’

Broken Consort is a chronicle of close attention (to books, films, plays, paintings, music, notebooks and car-boot sales) which will confound anyone who thinks rigour and generosity are contradictory. It includes an account of the evolution of the author’s prize-winning novel Murmur, an essay on Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year, and practical reflections on the business of writing.

‘“At the heart of writing is curiosity,” writes Will Eaves in his essay on “Making Books”. Curiosity may fuel every writers heart, but very often it’s coffee that powers the writer’s mind. When all the coffee runs out, we will be even more grateful for Will Eaves and his essays – each one a shot of artistic adrenalin and a euphoric psychostimulant.’
     – Nancy Campbell, author of The Library of Ice

‘“Who do I think I am, wandering about looking for links between things?”, asks Will Eaves in these rich essays drawn from a career as as an editor and critic, novelist and teacher of creative writing. A broken consort, in Renaissance music, is an ensemble in which instruments from different families are combined. Eaves’s roaming ear is reliably true ... Broken Consort is that rare book of criticism: one that tells the truth about the limitations of both reading and writing.’
     – Elizabeth Lowry, Times Literary Supplement

Conclusion to ‘Reading in 2020’ by Jan Carson:
‘I’ll leave you then with Will Eaves’ top tips for writers, taken from his recently published, and unsurprisingly brilliant, essay collection Broken Consort. What’s intended for writers, could just as easily be aimed at anyone attempting to make it through 2020 in one piece. This is probably the wisest, simplest and most sensible thing I read this year and it’s no surprise that Eaves’ advice begins with reading, slowly and carefully and ends with the exhortation to look up. This is reading as a means of practicing hope. It’s a pretty good place to begin a fresh reading year.
Read slowly and carefully. Write letters. Eat properly. Walk. Don’t be afraid to stop: other people matter more in the end, and it’s not a race. Resist jargon, (George Orwell: ‘ready-made phrases … perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself”). Learn to spell and punctuate. Look up.’

Murmur by Will Eaves won the 2019 Wellcome Prize and was co-winner of the Republic of Consciousness Prize. Originally published by CBe, Murmur is now available from Canongate.

From reviews of Murmur:

‘A novel forged from an immensely beautiful writing intelligence. Murmur is a fully achieved literary experiment, digging deep into all the dimensions of human consciousness, including state sanctioned savagery.’
      – Deborah Levy
‘The premise is startlingly ambitious: what if we could think our way into Alan Turing’s dreams? … Scrupulous, humane, sad and strange, [Murmur] is as bracingly intelligent as it is brave.’
      – Guardian
Murmur opens your mind to a different kind of novel, one that forges a dialogue between art and science, one that celebrates the wonder of human consciousness.’
      – The Times
‘Will Eaves has achieved one of the pinnacles of novelistic endeavour: he has given deep thought to human experience, and in doing so brought to life the “self-conscious wonder” of thought itself.’
– Sam Byers, Times Literary Supplement

Also available from CBe: The Absent Therapist  (CBe, 2014):

‘The whole book is like someone deeply charismatic and charming daring you not to find them insane. It’s wonderful.’
     – Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

‘I was gripped and awed by Will Eaves’s The Absent Therapist, touching, addictive and unlike any other book.’

     – Thomas Adès, TLS ‘Books of the Year’


The Inevitable Gift Shop (CBe, 2016):

‘It’s like a conversation with an extraordinarily wise friend: surprising, tender, funny and profound.

     – Michelle de Kretser

‘Heartbreaking and hilarious.’

     – Ian Sansom
‘It takes itself apart and puts itself back together again as it goes along like a literary Transformer, morphing from prose to poetry, literary criticism to history, every new shape a brilliant incarnation.’
      –Ian Duhig