It’s always like that: we grow up when we don’t want to. We grow up when we’re scared. We grow up when we don’t notice it.
Elizabeth, on her annual summer holiday in Malta with her family, suffers a heart attack and slips to a coma. With no sign of recovery on the horizon, her young son William is lost — his father disappears into himself, and his grandparents can offer nothing except more grief.
But William’s mother did leave something behind. Stories she would tell him, about a young boy named Vermillion, who lived between two hills in a distant land …
She lets words fall one by one, like they’re meant to die after they leave her mouth to be reborn in your mind.
Then suddenly, a stranger appears. A stranger who seems to know more about Elizabeth than anyone else. Confronted by this unsettling character, William begins to suspect that his mother’s stories are more than just comforting fairy tales.
“Startlingly effective observations, colourful imagery and insightful turns of phrase... The author’s prose style is engaging and convincing, with repetition evoking a child’s limited vocabulary and fascination with themselves and their immediate situation.” – Times of Malta
“I was lucky enough to read Teodor Reljic’s novel Two over the weekend, and if you are lucky, you will be reading it some weekend soon. Teodor absolutely nails the voice of his central character, a young boy floating in a moment: between understandings of home and nationality (the boy having just moved from the UK to Malta), of his parents, of the role of story in the world. Teodor avoids all the cliches of coming-of-age stories, and steers deftly between realistic fiction, fantasy, horror, and fable.” – Gregory Norman Bossert
“Two reads as if it is very personal. In some respects it reminds me of another novel I love, Jeffrey Ford’s The Shadow Year. In both novels, parents – especially mothers – with problems loom large, and the children must cope by living in worlds of their making. Two is also outstandingly sensual, in a wholly idiosyncratic way. This is one first novel I highly recommend.” – Anna Tambour
“The writing is dreamy, and poetic and often exquisite… this is a book that will reward re-reading and is in a very appealing style. I really enjoyed it and look forward to seeing more from this author” – Pete Sutton
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