The Coiled Serpent

Camilla Grudova


A little girl throws up Gloria-Jean's teeth after an explosion at the custard factory; Pax, Alexander, and Angelo are hypnotically enthralled by a book that promises them enlightenment if they keep their semen inside their bodies; Victoria is sent to a cursed hotel for ailing girls when her period mysteriously stops. In a damp, putrid spa, the exploitative drudgery of work sparks revolt; in a Margate museum, the new Director curates a venomous garden for public consumption.

In Grudova's unforgettably surreal style, these stories conjure a singular, startling strangeness that proves the deft skill of a writer at the top of her game.

Praise for The Coiled Serpent

"I can’t remember the last time I read satire of the Great British institutions so crisply rendered, so exquisitely batty. Grudova has an instinct for queasily precise imagery that few can rival… She’s a thoroughly sui generis visionary— and, after reading The Coiled Serpent, I’d say one of the most startlingly original writers we’ve got."
AK Blakemore, The Guardian

"Decay and putrescence — foul secretions and excretions — dominate The Coiled Serpent… It’s gruesome fare, served with cold precision."
Mythili G Rao, Financial Times

"Foods, poisons, and bodily effluvia blend together in a foamy, dark concoction, and scenes of visceral cruelty are not leavened by hope but instead brought confrontingly close. These stories are not for the faint of heart, and reading them is as sharply satisfying as picking at a scab."
Anahit Behrooz, The Skinny

"Camilla Grudova's books make other young writers seem meek... It's weird, dark and graphic, but as her new collection proves, it's also funny and poignant and distinctive, so inventive that it makes other writing seem uncourageous."
Leaf Arbuthnot, Sunday Telegraph

"A prodigious instinct for story... careering majestically between the astonishing and the terrible to create something uniquely gripping."
Tom Conaghan, Irish Times

"Grudova's stories are dark, creepy and strange, each a little off-kilter in a world where mental anxiety and fleshy reality are twisted into surreal scenarios by her fertile but festering imagination... for those with a penchant for gothictinged body horror, these are the business."
Eithne Farry, Daily Mail

"Strange, weird, twisted, sometimes surreal and always absorbing."
The Bristol Magazine,

"Unsettling... refuses to gloss over the grimy reality of years of austerity with Grudova's signature abstract flair."
Billie Walker, Big Issue

"An excellent second collection of exultantly gross-out tales."
Cal Revely-Calder, Telegraph Best Fiction Books of 2023