Adam Scovell's Mothlight will be published in February 2019 by Influx Press.

Information about Adam Scovell:

Adam Scovell is a writer and filmmaker from Merseyside now based in London. His writing has featured in The Times, BFI, Sight & Sound, Little White Lies and The Quietus. He runs the website, Celluloid Wicker Man, and his film work has been screened at a variety of festivals and events. In 2015, he worked with Robert Macfarlane on an adaptation of his Sunday Times best-seller, Holloway, and has worked on films alongside Stanley Donwood, Iain Sinclair and BAFTA-nominated director, Paul Wright. His first book, Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange, was published by Auteur in 2017 and he is currently in the final stages of completing his PhD at Goldsmiths University.

Click here to visit his official website.

Information about Mothlight:

“The idea was lost but the memory was here.”

Phyllis Ewans, a prominent researcher in Lepidoptera and a keen walker, has died of old age. Thomas, a much younger fellow researcher of moths first met Phyllis when he was a child. He became her carer and companion, having rekindled her acquaintance in later life.

Increasingly possessed by thoughts that he somehow actually is Phyllis Ewans, and unable to rid himself of the feeling that she is haunting him, Thomas must discover her secrets through her many possessions and photographs, before he is lost permanently in a labyrinth of memories long past.

Steeped in dusty melancholy and analogue shadows, Mothlight is an uncanny story of grief, memory and the price of obsession.


Adam Scovell's Mothlight is a wonderful slice of British weird fiction that will appeal to everybody who loves uncanny stories. It's one of the most captivating novels of the year, because it's something different yet strangely familiar and compelling in its depiction and exploration of grief, loneliness, memory and uncertainty. It's an excellent debut novel worthy of attention.

Mothlight tells of Thomas who becomes obsessed by the past life of the lepidopterist Phyllis Ewans whom he first met when he was a boy. Thomas begins to unravel the mysteries that surround Phyllis and her life. Phyllis has lived a secret life and Thomas doesn't know everything about her, including why she seems to hate her sister Billie. Phyllis' life is like a puzzle and Thomas tries to piece things together.

This novel is filled with small and significant details that add to the atmosphere and make the story haunting. The photographs that represent events from Phyllis' past are an important part of the story and offer a kind of a visual treat for the reader. As the story begins to unfold, the reader is led deeper into a world of mystery, melancholy and strangeness surrounding Phyllis.

The first person narrative mode works perfectly in this novel, because it allows readers a glimpse into a disturbed and haunted mind. The author creates a distinct sense of unease and obsession, and evokes a feeling in the reader that something is not quite right. He explores what kind of an influence Phyllis has had on Thomas and how Thomas has followed in her footsteps and has taken an interest in the Lepidoptera.

Being a novel largely about atmosphere, memory and grief, the author conjures up touching images about what kind of a person Phyllis Ewans is and how much Thomas is intrigued about her. The melancholy elements are handled beautifully and the author writes about them in a restrained way. Nothing is overdone in this novel, because the author steers the story away from melodrama and sentimentality.

Adam Scovell writes clear and atmospheric prose. His precise and restrained writing is perceptive and unsettling. Everything is strictly controlled in this novel. The author keeps all the elements and events under control and delivers a story seasoned with grief and memory. He succeeds in creating a sense of underlying mystery that adds an additional flavour to the story.

I feel that this novel will be of great interest to everybody who is familiar with the works of such authors as Robert Aickman, Timothy J. Jarvis and Joel Lane, because it has a few things in common with them. If you love gradually unfolding stories steeped in atmosphere and memory, this novel is for you.

Adam Scovell's Mothlight is a skillfully written novel, one that is easy to recommend to readers who are intrigued by atmospheric and strange stories that gradually reveal their secrets. This strange and quietly unsettling novel is a haunting reading experience that stays with the reader long after the final page has been read.

Highly recommended!

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