A girl Made Of Air Nydia Hetherington


Hardback publishe 3rd September 2020 by Quercus 

This is the story of The Greatest Funambulist Who Ever Lived…

Born into a legendary  circus family, our nameless star was unwanted and forgotten, abandoned in the shadows of the big top. until the bright light of Serendipity Wilson threw her into focus.

Now an adult, haunted by an incident in which a child was lost from the circus, our narrator, a tightrope artiste, weaves together her spellbinding tales of circus legends, earthy magic and folklore, all in the hope of finding the child… But will her story be enough to bring the pair together again?

Beautiful and intoxicating, A Girl Made of Air brings the circus to life in all of its grime and glory; Marina, Manu, Serendipity Wilson, Fausto, Big Gen and Mouse will live long in the hearts of readers. As will this story of loss and reconciliation, of storytelling and truth.

My Review 

I enjoyed reading A Girl Made Of Air, it a really beautiful story well written that combines Historical Fantasy, Fairy tales, myths and fairytales, taking the reader into escapism. 

All routines in the circus are dangerous, and they must be mastered, including balancing and walking across the wire. I felt sorry for the greatest Funambulist girl, the circus was her family and her home, but she felt more like a pet than a beloved child. You’re wonderful on your wire, that’s what matters, and you’re a clever girl. You know very well that all you need in life is this. 

A perfectly imagined first story. I recommend this book for fans of The Night Circus. 

I loved the blue and gold cover with the greatest Funambulist walking and balancing on bare feet on tiptoes along the wire like a ballerina. 
An excerpt 

Chapter 1

Rabbit’s Feet and Hokum

World on Wire The Fallen

Ellie Macveigh

June 14, 1983 / Manhattan / 10.30 / Transcription

Tape 1

Can you tell me who you are?

I’ve been called the Greatest Funambulist Who Ever Lived.

You smile when you say it. Don’t you believe it?

( Pause )


Sorry. I don’t like being recorded very much. I’ve never been good at talking. I’d rather write things down. My voice is awful, isn’t it? I don’t recognise it sometimes. I never should’ve started smoking. I mean, once you’re hooked it’s lived in voice, I suppose.

The recording’s only for me. No need to worry. And your voice is great.

Was I babbling? I’ll try to relax. You’re the first person I’ve spoken to publicly, or privately for that matter, since my, I don’t know what to call it, my retirement? That makes me sound old. Since my last performance. Yes, that’s a decent description. There’ve been offers of interviews, appearances and all kinds of things. To be honest. I couldn’t face them. But I’m ready now. You came along at the right time. It’s not that I care about being out of the public eye, you understand. I’m done with that. I’m babbling again aren’t I? Sorry. Please, do go on.

What makes you the greatest, sometimes?

( Pause )

Fearless, I suppose. I’m not afraid.

Of falling?

It’s not the falling one must fear, it’s the landing.

Ah yes. And are you afraid of the landing?

Never. I have protection. See? 

You’re showing me jewellery. It’s lovely. Amber?

Thank you. I saw you looking at it as I came in. It’s okay you can touch it, if you like. 

Yes, it had caught my eye. It’s very bright. Unusually so. 

It keeps me safe.

You’re superstitious?

( Pause )  A cigarette is lit. The crackle of paper. A deep exhale.

I’ve never thought of it like that before I suppose I must be.

I mean, it’s a talisman, of sorts, like a rabbit’s foot.

Like, some actors wear certain clothes,you know the lucky socks or something, before going on stage. Is that how it works?

Honestly? I’m not sure. When I climb the wire, my fingers search my throat for the pendant. I admit, there’s a certain amount of theatre to it. I’m prone to the poetic. I’m afraid. But there’s comfort in it too.

You say it’s amber Was it a gift?

You asked if it was amber and I do refer to it as an amber pendant only it’s not. It’s a glass locket containing a snip of tightly bound of orange hair. Probably worthless to anyone else, but priceless to me. It wasn’t really a gift either. I’m ashamed to say I took it, the hair I mean, not the pendant. I bought that.

It’s human hair?

I’ve always supposed so.

I would like to thank Quercus for sending me this beautifu hardback book all wrapped up in pretty wrapping paper. 

About Nydia Hetherington 

My first memories are of the Isle of Man, where I lived as a small child. When my family relocated to Leeds, I grew up dreaming of fairies and of the sea (I still do). In my early twenties I moved to London to embark on an acting career, then to Paris, where I continued my theatre training before creating a theatre company and becoming a clown (red nose included). Returning to London almost a decade later, I worked in a shoe shop while studying for a creative writing degree at Birkbeck University. To keep the wolf from my door I’ve had many jobs, including working in shops and cafes and kitchens, sometimes in offices and most recently in an art gallery. These days I live on the edge of London with my husband and our plump (she’s got big bones) cat.

My favourite books often have a touch of the magical about them. At the same time, I love fierce writing that reaches into the depths of the human experience. 

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