Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: when adopted midwife Mariam embarks on a project to protect an abandoned premature baby, she is forced to face her own abandonment years before. Time is running out before the baby is sent to the orphanage. Mysterious characters from the city surrounding the hospital will be crucial in determining the baby’s fate, as will a workaholic British doctor with whom Mariam finds herself falling in love… Alice Allan’s debut novel is an original, vivid and moving story about attachment and loss.
Open My Eyes, Pinter and Martin. 2017
Order your copy from Amazon, Wordery, or here. Available from all good bookshops.
Praise for Open My Eyes:
“This is a beautifully written book, the characters of which leap to life and lodge in the mind. It is sure of its steps and tone, often moving, often daring.”
Robert Macfarlane (Underland, The Lost Words, The Old Ways, Landmarks, The Wild Places, Mountains of the Mind)
“Open My Eyes is a tender story, perfectly evoking Addis Ababa in all its fascinating complexity. Mariam is an engaging character, strong and fearless, and her gradual emotional awakening is a joy to read”.
Elizabeth Laird (The Garbage King, Lure of the Honey Bird)
“I was moved and captivated by this gripping, unflinching, tender story of a woman catapulted into loving an abandoned baby. Told with great insight, it evokes the contradictions of contemporary Addis Ababa vividly. I loved it.”
Samantha Ellis, (Take Courage, How to be a Heroine.)
“Allan writes evocatively of [Ethiopia]…The smells, customs, food, landmarks and patterns of life that her characters observe bring the country alive for the reader, creating an emotional and vibrant novel.”
“An entertaining and engaging story, wonderfully evocative of Ethiopia, and deeply moving.”
Benet Brandreth (The Spy of Venice)
“The scent-rich coloured depth of Allan’s book is uniquely evocative as she creates a story of sensual vulnerability and with a hope free of nostalgia. There’s a pragmatism written into the love, a strangeness conjured through normality. You feel for the characters, and for their shocking realness. The unusual context and topic make for a truly memorably, beautifully written read which opens your heart as much as your eyes.”
Michelle Mattesini, Attachment Parenting UK
The biggest strength of the book is the chapters written from the baby’s perspective. I have never read prose that so powerfully captures the sensations of a newborn…This is a many-threaded story, and the central thread is that tiny fragile human, buffeted by the needs and the limitations of the adults in her world. It’s really wonderful to read fiction so heartfelt, so accurate, and so moving.”
Karen Hall, Sprog Cast. NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor & Essentials Practitioner
A “stunning novel”-Beverly Turner, LBC radio.