Taproot Press have acquired world rights to Connective Tissue, an illuminating and intensely moving intergenerational Holocaust novel based on the real family history of author and former Saltire Award-winner Eleanor Thom. The novel will be published in August 2023.
A tale of parallel mothers both in search of family that has been taken from them, Connective Tissue tells the story of Helena, a woman living in contemporary Kilmarnock whose baby is born with an undiagnosed form of paralysis, and her grandmother, Dora, a young working-class mother and Jew living in Nazi-era Berlin. Elegantly interweaving these narratives across 20th century Germany, London and 21st century Scotland, Thom crafts a unique and deeply-researched novel from the margins of the Scottish Jewish diaspora that is at once personal and historical, a testament to the enduring strength of familial bonds across generations and our need to know the people and places that make us.
The novel marks a long-awaited sophomore effort by Thom, whose debut novel The Tin-Kin, based in part on her family’s traveller heritage, won the Saltire First Book of the Year award in 2010, and was widely praised by authors including Ali Smith and Janice Galloway.
“I am so delighted to be working with Taproot Press, a publisher local to me that I feel I can really trust with this story,” Thom said. “Although fiction, Connective Tissue contains a very personal family history that was not easy to write. Patrick (Taproot’s Co-Founder) really understands the heart of the book and what I wanted to do. A third-generation Holocaust narrative from Scotland is not something I’ve read before, and accounts of working-class Holocaust refugees are pretty scarce, so I’m glad my work will be available for everyone interested in this topic.”
“The arresting voice and uncompromising honesty of Connective Tissue immediately spoke to us,” Jamieson added. “Giving a platform to lesser-heard voices and the stories that connect us across borders is fundamental to Taproot’s mission, and Connective Tissue exists at the heart of that. Few narratives of working-class Holocaust refugees exist, fewer still of the Scottish Jewish diaspora, and this novel not only brings some of the truths of these existences to light, but does so through an unforgettable and impressively constructed narrative.”
Eleanor Thom writes fiction and creative non-fiction and lives in Edinburgh. Recurring themes in her work are place, social history, memory, and family life. Her first novel, The Tin-Kin (Duckworth, 2009), won the Saltire First Book of the Year Award, and was featured on BBC TV’S The Culture Show. Since then, Eleanor has had two children, and she completed a PhD in creative writing in 2018. For the past four years, she has been the Community Writer in Residence for The Edinburgh International Book Festival. She likes archives, walking on the beach and up mountains, reading, learning languages, and very long journeys. She also likes playing the violin with her son and cheering on her daughter’s para-swimming team.
‘A powerful first novel … it conjours landscape by strength of voice, and its take on history is as bracing and cleansing as the local weather’ – Ali Smith
‘Elegantly observed, painstaking, tender and truthful. Luring the reader deeper with its gentle, unflinching sense of voice, this is a book that is beautifully realised, hugely rewarding’ – Janice Galloway
‘An elegant novel about love and loss, written in spare, lucid prose’ – Alan Bissett