'Beautifully constructed ... emotionally engrossing ... a book to lose yourself in' - Annabel Gaskell, Shiny New Books. Full review here

'Deeply engrossing ... a fine novel, written with skill and empathy' - A Life in Books. Full review here

'Powerful ... at its heart Astral Travel is a novel about both the slipperiness of story-telling and its redemptive power. An utterly beguiling read!' - Deborah Grace. Full review here

'I couldn't stop reading ... I really loved this story... Highly recommended' - Our Book Reviews. Full review here

'Great page-turner. Astral Travel is written so vividly, in such a freewheeling style, that the narrative twists and turns are navigated with ease. Despite the underlying anger, and the sadness, Jo is a likeable narrator with an ironic tone of voice and a comic sensibility ... By the time I'd finished this wonderful novel, I was hoping for a sequel' Ailsa Cox, Litro Magazine. Full review here

'Intricately beautiful and abruptly brutal ... I can't remember the last time a work of fiction aroused such sympathy and indignant anger in me ...one of the most memorable and brilliant books I've read this year' - Bookmunch. Full review here

'A lingering and recommended read' - neverimitate. Full review here

'Highly recommended ... an interesting and compelling read' - Katie Lumsden, Books and Things, YouTube (9.42 on the video)

'Engaging and compelling... A beautiful novel' - Joshua R Conley, Accoun Buzz


'Baines reminds me of a scratch DJ, taking a conventional format and messing with it, expertly, to give the audience a whole new experience... Highly readable, thought-provoking and with beautiful use of language, this collection is a rich and unexpected delight' - J J Marsh, Bookmuse. Whole review here.

'How much of our lives do we imagine? Dream? Is everything a fiction, an expedience? Ultimately these are questions that are posited by Baines' writing... It is not at all easy to ask big questions in this most difficult of writing forms, the short story, and using such lucid and poetic prose as the author uses here' - Frances Spurrier, Wales Arts Review. Whole review here

'It'll blow you away when you least expect it' - Charlie Pace. Read the whole review here .

'A collection packed with bursts of intense short stories, written in clean, sharp prose. The stories are immersive and gripping. I read this book in one sitting' - Hannah Stevens. Read the whole review here.

'I loved this collection, and I am excited to read even more by Elizabeth Baines in the future. Her writing style is strong and refreshingly different... A real pleasure to read' - Katie Lumsden. Read whole review here.

'A tremendous collection of stories. They do not seek to be didactic, but may nonetheless give many of us who read them cause to reflect on the choices we have made in our own lives, and to be more mindful of the options which open in front of us every day' - Cath Barton, The Short Review. Whole review here

'Niftily overturning apparent certainties, often in a series of small revelations and delivering the occasional killer punch ... thoughtful collection' - A Life in Books. Whole review here

'A really great collection that you will enjoy, identify with, wish that worm hadn't got into your head - and each of these in equal measure.' - Our Book Reviews Online. Whole review here

'The writing is is vivid, buoyant, incisive ... vibrant evocation of time and place - and the power of the human mind to transcend both' - Emma Bosworth, Confingo

'An enjoyable collection of well-chosen stories with a fascinating linking theme. Recommended' - Helen Walters. Whole review here.


'Used to Be':
'A self-reflexive treat whose enigmatic holding pattern makes beautiful sense by story's end' - Rio Lang. Whole review here.

'That Turbulent Stillness':
'A boy-meets-girl story that boils with menacing violence, mirroring the love of that other star-crossed duo, Catherine and H' - Elaine Chiew
'Movingly written, with strong characterisation. It has a lovely narrative voice' - Katie Lumsden.
'Poignant, funny and thought-provoking' - Deborah Grace.

'Looking for the Castle':
'I loved the prose ... it's just perfectly written' - Aiden O'Reilly
'Notable for its refreshing economy - nothing's overexplained here' - Valerie O'Riorden, Bookmunch

'Clarrie and You':
'Baines' deft touch and acutely observed detail of family relationships make it a story with layers waiting to be undone... The story offers new subtleties with every read' - Sarah Schofield, The Short Review.
'A very clever story' - Helen Walters. Whole review here.

'The Choice Chamber':
'A woman is in the kitchen, chatting with her two teenage sons. She thinks back to her younger self, a young woman who had no desire for any of this: family, farmhouse kitchen in the suburbs, settling down. A common enough theme, perhaps, but this story has a killer final line' - Scott Pack
'Particularly resonated' - Helen Walters. Whole review here

'Tides, or How Stories Do or Don't Get Told':
'I bloody love this. Part life story, part love story, part memoir, part exploration of the nature of stories. Brilliant. Brilliant.' - Dan Powell
'I love Elizabeth Baines' "Tides, or How Stories Do or Don't Get Told" ... it's clever ... But it's also just a beautiful, moving story ... It's brilliant.' - Katie Lumsden
'A thoughtful story' - Charles May. Whole review here.
' It's like the stage magician who explains how a trick works only to surprise the audience later' - Tim Love. Whole review here.


'Moving and compelling' - Sarah Salway

'Terrific... very clever indeed and finally, very moving too' - Adele Geras.

'Smartly plotted and with not a word wasted, Too Many Magpies is an appealing, bewitching read, one that feels slightly dangerous and a little bit thrilling. It deals with predictable subjects in unpredictable ways, and for that reason alone it marks Baines as a British writer to watch. Highly recommended.' - Reading Matters blog. Whole review here.

'This slim book holds such depth and human truth that it's unnerving. I've read Too Many Magpies several times since June because I'm bowled over ... makes every other book I've read recently wither into insignificance ... quite simply a stunning read and one of the most accomplished pieces of work I've read in the last few years' - Rachel Smart, Amazon review

'A fantastic achievement from a fresh, noteworthy talent' - Book Scout, Goodreads.

'I read most of this book in one sitting as I could not drag myself away from its eerie storytelling... An accomplished, thoughtful novel that offers us a strange new lens with which to view the world' - Lisa Glass, Vulpes Libris

'A knack of repeatedly picking up moments of life that only while reading you realise you haven’t seen in a novel before but that are true and needed telling. The book freezes our times for future generations in a way that the mammoth, multi-layered uber-novels of Franzens, Safran Foers and Mitchells can only dream of... It is a great book.' - Benjamin Judge

'A powerful and emotional journey for the reader and one that makes this book an easy one to recommend' - William Rycroft

'Bursting with ideas and surprises and humanity. It is touching and the emotional life of the narrator lingers in the memory long after the final sentences have faded. Highly recommended.' - John Baker

'Compelling style that keeps me turning the pages ... sustained menace' - Clare Dudman

'Intense and unsettling. The prose is spartan, but powerful... Despite its physical brevity, Too Many Magpies poses huge questions about life today' - Sally Zigmond

I devoured this book in one sitting: I am a quick reader, but when a book grabs one's attention the way that Too Many Magpies does, I find it extremely hard to put it down.This book was amazing...' - Barbara Smith

'This is a book that made me hold my breath. Baines' gift is to do the literary equivalent of revealing what is on the inside of trouser pockets during laundry, ordinary and sacred things otherwise hidden are carefully revealed... What I found extraordinary as reader and writer was Elzabeth Baine’s ability to convey so skillfully and lightly the nuances of relationships and communication... As a reader it was the kind of book I have longed to read, as a writer, it is the kind of book I would dream of writing.' - Alison Wells

'Precise language and graceful use of time... Glitters with meanings' - Judith Amanthis, Morning Star

'Deceptively simple, a beautifully crafted novel in which every word seems to have multiple layers of meaning' - Debi Alper

'Like her short story collection this is a beautifully-written book' - Jim Murdoch

'A wonderful conceit ... full of really wonderful imagery and a sense of magic and science as equally mysterious forces in our lives' - Jen Michalski, JMWW magazine

'Too Many Magpies is a fantastic short novel, full of mystery, humanity and depth. It is extraordinarily well written - in beautiful prose - and the question at the heart of it kept me hooked till the end. Very enjoyable and highly recommended... Baines deserves a wide readership & critical acclaim' - Caitlin G (Amazon Review)

'A really very good read. I'm not a voracious reader so for me to have read this book quickly is the best compliment I can pay. Elizabeth makes a convincing rope from the fears of modern life from an original perspective but as a side note the interweaving strands of gardening references and particularly the authenticity of the joy of driving and descriptions of open roads and freedom hooked me in ... Great book.' - Peadar O'Donoghue

'Too Many Magpies is an incredibly thoughtful novel and as such will appeal as much to the mind of the reader as to the heart. I definitely recommend it as a book to lose yourself in' - Helen Hunt, Bookersatz

'I finished Too Many Magpies in three bedtime reads (something I rarely do!). Mesmerised from start to finish. As a reader I identified with it to a (sometimes) uncomfortable degree - loved the prose and the way the elements and characters were mirrored/entwined. A unique experience, seldom read anything by a UK writer that has had so marked an effect!' - Dot Seven, Amazon Review.


'Quite swept me off my feet ... Nothing would have induced me to interrupt
Balancing on the Edge of the World by Elizabeth Baines until I'd read them all'
- Dovegreyreader. Read a review by Dovegreyreader here.

'One of those books I had to force myself to put down just so the experience
of reading it wouldn't end.' - Tania Hershman

'One of the best short story collections I have ever read' - Jamieson Wolf

'Stunning short stories' - Sally Zigmond.

'What makes Elizabeth Baines' collection so brilliant ... is that she perfectly plays
with both the page-turning quality of novel's fiction, and a crafted beauty you
usually only associate with verse... They're funny, and moving, and thoughtful -
but above all, they're short stories which celebrate how beguiling short stories
can be. Read and be enchanted.' - Rob Shearman, author World Fantasy Award
winning collection Tiny Deaths. Read the full review here.

'This is storytelling for the 21st century' - Jim Murdoch. Whole review here.

'Every story is meticulously crafted, and I loved how the stories are told with
such a compact grace... There is an emotional honesty to them that is really
raw and intense, and I found them very affecting' - Shelf Life blog. Read the
whole review here.

'Frank, original prose underpins all the stories and the central motif, power…
This is a stunning debut collection by a writer whose prose deliberates its
characters and themes with a keen sense of literary drama'
- Melissa Lee-Houghton, The Short Review. Full review here.

'A terrific collection - luminous, witty and wise' - Livi Michael

'Each story strikes to the heart' - Sue Guiney

'Perfect collection' - Whichbook

'This is the real deal' - Matt Bell on one of the stories in the book,
'Daniel Smith Disappears off the Face of the Earth'.

'There’s this great sense of delight in words, in expression, that lends a freshness
to even the most traditional piece here. It feels rather like her characters are
really glad to just be able to tell you about their lives, even when those lives
are not necessarily much fun. The overall effect is like walking down the street
and seeing people in their living room who have forgotten that people outside
can see in, except this time you can hear them, too.' - Bookmunch blog.
Read whole review here.

'Elizabeth Baines' specialty is unpacking relationships ...[She is] wincingly funny
about the creative process and 'The Shooting Script' ought to be required reading
for anyone who fancies themselves writing for television. She's both lyrical and
clear-sighted when she looks at the world through a child's eyes...
Enormous aplomb ...Very well-written' - Adele Geras. Full review here.

'A very high standard of writing indeed and I enjoyed it very much...
I'd definitely read more Baines' - Anne Brooke. Full review here

'Elizabeth Baines is a superb stylist - a latter-day fabulist in fact -
and her writing reminded me of Chekhov's in that it was spare and
paid attention to the subtleties of everyday experience.' - Clare Dudman

'These stories tell you more about who we are and how we live than a dozen big fat novels. If you like short stories, you should certainly get a copy of this book. If you think you don't like short stories, you should get two - one to surprise yourself with and one to give to someone else!' - Charles Lambert.

'Impressive collection... She finds and plucks out important and remarkable
moments from the otherwise ordinary. It is quite a skill.' - Scott Pack

'A description of a mugging that manages to be both beautiful and harrowing,
one of those perfect pieces of short fiction that sticks with you and makes you
see the next puddle you walk past differently' - Katie Rathfelder on 'Daniel Smith
Disappears off the Face of the Earth', Bookmunch. See full review of the collection here.

'Sometimes books are just right, they feel right, and when you read them it's almost as though they're singing to you. And Balancing on the Edge of the World is just one of those' - Nik Perring

'Baines’ characterisations are particularly vivid, ranging from comic to tragic but always retaining their believability' - Claire Marriott on Bookersatz. Full review here.

'I was amazed how Baines handles a moment, that moment, when a young man’s world changes forever' - The Biblio Blogazine on the story 'Daniel Smith Disappears Off the Face of the Earth'. For full review of collection see here.

For Dovegreyreader's comments on the story 'Power' see here.

'Most impressive ... charts the fortunes of three generations in as many pages without any sense of strain or thinness' - Punch Magazine on one of the stories, 'Leaf Memory'.

Amazon reviews.


Reviews of the new edition:

'Really rather brilliant, deep, dark and moving' - Steve Waling

'A damn good read. It’s a cliché to say this is a must-read, but still, I’m going to urge you all to read it. And I’m talking to you, too, boys: it might have a lot of fairy-tale aspects and it’s undeniably about pregnancy and labour, but it’s got science, too! Seriously. Salt’s done the public a service in bringing this one back. It’s a rock-hard satire and a very, very, very good read. So, you know, read it.' - Valerie O'Riordan on Bookmunch. Full review here.

'I was in awe of the masterful examination of polite cowardice and of the barriers constructed to prevent women from asking questions about their own bodies.
...just like Elizabeth Baines’s other recent novel Too Many Magpies, The Birth Machine leaves an indelible mark on its reader.' - Lisa Glass, Vulpes Libris. Full review here.

'A disturbing and thought-provoking meditation on power, control and the uncertain language of logic' - Carys Bray. Full review here.

'Immediately takes the reader into a world of vivid detail and thought-provoking imagery... I highly recommend this novel both for the intelligent handling of the themes and the pleasure of the reading experience.' - Helen Hunt on Bookersatz. Full review here.

'I enjoyed this book very much.' 'An eye-opener that men should read too' - Jim Murdoch. Read a review by Jim Murdoch here.

'An absorbing novel. I found it very hard to put down and read it in only three sittings, but I am sure I will return to it time and time again' - Angela Topping, Amazon review. Read the whole review here.

'I found this book completely absorbing and read it far too late into the night.
I don't see it as a polemic about hi-tech childbirth, but rather a nightmarish parable about power and secrets ... Baines makes subtle points about intimacy and betrayal... An intriguing back mystery kept me guessing and unsettled to the end. An excellent and unusual story. Highly recommended.' -
Amazon review

'Strange but compelling ... it all comes together in a coherent and powerful way ... I was gripped, especially by the childhood scenes... For me what impressed most was the language, well observed and precise.' - Alan Beard, Goodreads. Full review here.

'Beautifully written' - Womagwriter

'Highly recommended' - Claire King.


From reviews of the first edition:

'The birth myth of our age' - IN DUBLIN

'A gripping story, a pithy book' - Katy Campbell

'An increasingly powerful narrative... Sharp satire - TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT


Discussions of The Birth Machine can be found in the following publications:

Contemporary Women's Fiction and the Fantastic by Lucy Armitt (Macmillan, 2000)

Feminism After Postmodernism by Marysia Zalewski (Routledge, 2000)

Reproducing the Womb by Alice E Adams (Cornell University Press, 1994)

Women Writing Childbirth by Tess Cosslett (Manchester University Press, 1994)

The Witch in History by Diane Purkiss (Routledge, 1996)

Lost in Space - Probing Feminist Science Fiction & Beyond by Marleen S Barr, The University of North Carolina Press, 1993



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