Winner of the Guardian Not the Booker Prize 2015
Twenty year old Rona Leonard walks out of her sister Fiona’s flat and disappears.
Six years on, worn down by a tedious job, child care and the aching absence in her life, Fiona’s mundane existence is blown apart by the revelation that, before she disappeared, Rona had been working as a prostitute. Driven to discover the truth, Fiona embarks on an obsessive quest to investigate the sex industry. As she is drawn into a complex world, Fiona makes shocking discoveries that challenge everything she believed, and will ultimately change her life forever.
Bittersweet, sensual and rich, Fishnet takes a clear-eyed, meticulously researched, controversial look at the sex industry and the lives of sex workers, questioning our perception of contemporary femininity.
Praise for Fishnet
‘thoughtful, bruising, poignant and poetic’ Ian Rankin
‘…an impressive debut… asks difficult and brave questions. Crucially, the novel works because it shows how these questions matter to individual humans; because it’s so full of empathy… this is an important book.’ Guardian
‘It’s dark and provocative, and it holds its gaze steady on the sex industry. Here’s a new writer with huge talents and promise.’ Sarah Hall in the Metro
‘Extraordinarily refreshing… a very erotic read… set to be a massive hit and deserves every ounce of that success.’ Huffington Post
‘utterly compelling… a brilliant achievement’ Janice Forsyth, BBC Radio Scotland
‘…Innes brings a more nuanced and engaging exploration of the subject than is normally the case, and Fishnet is a great example of what the best fiction can do. In this case it marries an honesty and clarity which is uncomfortable and often shocking, with a tenderness and warmth for the central characters and concern for their predicaments. Fishnet will challenge perceptions about the subject across the board, from the dyed in the wool Daily Mail reading reactionary to the most right-on, left-leaning liberal as all easily defined points of view are challenged. The writing is reminiscent of the investigative style of Andrew O’Hagan, with Innes’ research supporting and adding to the story rather than overshadowing it, something which lends the novel an authenticity that it may not have had otherwise. It is not simply about sex, (how could it be?) but asks further questions about objectification and subjectification, gender politics and the possibility of change in the future. Once the book is finished it will stay with you for some time as you try to work out exactly what you think. It is not easy, and nor should it be. Other writers should take note as such a serious subject demands serious consideration and receives it all too rarely. Not just a good book, but an important one, and one which I hope finds the wide readership it deserves.’ Scots Whay Hae!
‘Fishnet, a passionate and politically-charged book about family ties set against the backdrop of the Scottish sex industry, is easily the best thing I have read so far this year.’ Last Year’s Girl Blog
‘The prose is bold and direct, reflecting the unforgiving and honest nature of the book, but she also creates a warm, inviting atmosphere in which to lose yourself and your inhibitions. This debut novel is sure to capture the imagination and heart of anyone searching for a heartbreakingly truthful family drama.’ We Love This Book
‘A passionately committed book… Innes draws convincing, three dimensional characters and has constructed a plot that hums along and draws the reader in. And the writing is excellent, coupled with razor sharp observations on work, life, women and men.’ Blue Book Balloon
‘Bold, sensual and unflinching, Fishnet lays bare a world too often misjudged and misunderstood. Kirstin Innes writes with courage, warmth and real insight. This is a hugely enjoyable and important book.’ Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Animals
‘Innes explores not just the degradation of prostitution but the degradation of modern life… she will makes you re-examine your beliefs.’ Max Dunbar
‘Fishnet is a determined debut from an inimitable talent. Kirstin Innes takes the reader on an heartbreaking investigative journey into the contemporary realm of prostitution.’ Lisa O’Donnell, author of The Death of Bees and Closed Doors, winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize
‘An empathetic journey into the realities of sex work and the people that work within it in Scotland and beyond.’ The National
‘Fishnet is an important novel… it stayed with me, I’m still thinking about it now.’ Alexandra Masters, founder of Booksmoke and Guardian Not The Booker Prize 2015 judge
‘I was immersed in the story, even weeks later the book is always on my mind. It has changed so much of the way I think about women and men who work in the sex industry.’ Lorraine Berry, Guardian Not The Booker Prize 2015 judge
‘The depiction of Fiona’s world – failing Facebook friendships, cavernous bars and austerity-struck business zones – shows off Innes’ gift for describing the mundane as well as the exotically marginal.’ Victoria Segal in the Guardian
‘Comparing Kirstin Innes’s Fishnet to Trainspotting may be obvious, but, like Irvine Welsh, Innes strikes sparks by rubbing a clandestine world (here, prostitution on Scotland) against the everyday. Unsettling and seductive, this tale of two sisters is moving, gripping, and unforgettable.’ Independent
‘It’s been an excellent year for talented Scottish women, particularly when it omes to debut novels. My favourites were Lucy Ribchester’s The Hourglass Factory and Kirstin Innes’ Fishnet, which explore the female experience.’ Kirsty Logan, author, chooses Fishnet as a favourite book of the year in the Sunday Herald
‘A novel that weaves its fiction around an open-minded, clear-eyed investigation of the widely misunderstood lives of sex workers and prostitution. It leaves you feeling as if you have been on an enlightening journey.’ Allan Hunter, co-director of the Glasgow Film Festival, chooses Fishnet as a favourite book of the year in the Sunday Herald
‘This well researched-work of fiction challenged our assumptions that prostitutes are always victims of coercion and explored the ambiguities of the relationships they form with their Johns. It’s extremely rare for a noel actually to change public attitudes, but Fishnet already has.’ Iain Macwhirter, political correspondent and writer
‘Fishnet succeeds on every level: as a character portrait, a missing person thriller, an exploration of sexuality, and a re-evaluation of sex work (and work in general.) If it doesn’t at least give you pause for thought, you must have come to it very enlightened indeed.’ Grant Rintoul, 1streading
‘The novel is based on meticulous research.’ The Vancouver Sun chooses Fishnet as one of the best books of 2015