Figurehead cover

Tartarus Press

Figurehead Carly Holmes

Limited Edition SOLD OUT


‘Figurehead’ illustration based on a photograph of a carving by Mark Bridges.

‘Beneath her soft skin covering, my mother was once made of twigs and branches. Sometimes in the autumn I swear there was a gleam of berry in her eye, a sloe-shine peep between the thorny tangle of her lashes.’

In this debut collection of stories Carly Holmes peers into every corner of the strange fiction genre: from rural gothic through to traditional ghost stories, the uncanny, and folk horror. Mothers turn into trees when the sun goes down; Russian Dolls mourn their missing sisters in rotting houses; men offer sacrifices to the monsters who embody their inner wildness; and murderous demons protect young girls’ virginity.

Ranging from flash fiction to novelette, these stories are in turn chilling, playful, and melancholy. They resonate with an unsettling and unsettled anxiety about finding, and losing, one’s place in the world. The bonds of family and of community, both in their fracturing and their healing states, the uneasy relationship between living in the present and yearning for the past, are themes that thread their way through Figurehead. Every tale is rich with landscapes haunted by loss and longing.


  • The Demon L
  • Miss Luna
  • Little Matrons
  • Sleep
  • Ghost Story
  • Dropped Stitches
  • Like Water Through Fingers
  • Maria’s Silence
  • Piece by Piece
  • The Glamour
  • Wich
  • Three for a Girl
  • Strumpet
  • Runty
  • Into the Woods
  • Alter
  • Before the Fairytale
  • Bake Day
  • Friday
  • Heartwood
  • Figurehead
  • They Tell Me
  • Woodside Close
  • A Small Life
  • Beneath the Skin
  • Rootless
  • Acknowledgements

Limited to 300 copies


Search by author name or title of book:

Browse by Author

Browse our titles by author last name then first name:

Browse by Publisher

Browse our titles by publisher name:

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know when we have new books and sales:


Ordering Information