Helen and her young baby, Rose, are awake. It is first thing on a new morning. They move, they rest, they communicate; Rose feeds. Thoughts and associations travel far beyond the remit of the front room in their rented flat, which they pace, and which, alive with them, continually becomes new. Their delicate balance is interrupted by the delivery of A History of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding – a novel which describes itself, semi-seriously, as inventing the novel-form for the very first time. As the morning progresses, Helen starts reading it. Indirectly, and each in their own distinct ways, Helen and Rose start thinking about it: its claims to newness, its length, its essayistic digressions, its invitation to imagine old and new forms of life, writing, and experience.
The Long Form, Windham Campbell Prize-winner Kate Briggs’ long-awaited debut fiction, unmakes and remakes the novel to meditate on very real social issues, from housing, to care-taking, to friendship, laying bare the settings and support structures that make durational forms of co-existence first thinkable, then possible. At once acrobatic and deeply attentive, The Long Form insists on the creativity inherent in everyday life, showing how the acts of social composition (living arrangements) are continuous with the acts of artistic composition (page arrangements). It is a brilliant novel of profound contrasts and productive co-dependencies, in which the small details of a day speak to the largest questions of form, responsibility, continuation and love.