S.E. Craythore_author photo

How You See Me

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Longlisted   —Mslexia Women’s Novel Competition2014

Shortlisted   —Writer’s Retreat Competition2013


Taut and suspenseful, How You See Me examines the terrifying power of the mind to deceive, not only others but – most destructively of all – ourselves.

imageRead first chapter

‘I’ve probably lied to you. That’s habit. I lie to everyone about my family…’

Daniel Laird has returned to Norfolk after a nine-year absence to care for his ailing artist father. He describes his uneasy homecoming in a series of letters to his sister, his boss, and to Alice, his one true love.

But it is not until he discovers a hidden cache of his father’s paintings that the truth begins to surface about why he left all those years ago. The more Daniel writes, the more we learn about his past – and the more we begin to fear for those he holds dear.

We Love This Book: Book of the Week

20 August 2015
A modern epistolary novel, it not only brings back to life this bygone form but uses it masterfully to create a reality and then systematically unspool it… It truly is an impressive feat of characterisation, narration and execution. The way in which the truth emerges from Daniel’s unadorned and innocent prose is truly unsettling and disorienting for the reader and is testament to Craythorne’s ability to inhabit and humanize her protagonist... an absolute marvel of a novel, a triumph of subject, form and storytelling.
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9 August 2015
The architecture of the novel is tight and spare. Daniel’s uneasy homecoming and artful dodging around the traumatic event that propelled him from home are delicately handled... The characterisation of this relationship [between Daniel and his father] is masterful... Daniel appears to want to receive or grant forgiveness, and this is dramatised with patient subtlety in Daniel’s careful tending of his father’s wounds… a polished literary mystery exploring the fragile and intensely human nature of deception.
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Yann Martel

14 April 2015
A tender, poignant story, deftly executed and written in graceful, word-perfect prose. Whoever said the novel was dead hasn't read S.E. Craythorne's How You See Me. She revives an old conceit – the epistolary novel – while making a modern point: how very hard it is to know ourselves, and so how very hard it is to be understood by others. This is Romeo and Juliet meets Camus' L'Etranger. When I finished the book, it left me gutted, really gutted.

Sarah Perry

13 April 2015
Craythorne draws - with a very, very sharp pencil - a painfully acute portrait of a damaged inner life. In spare, expertly controlled prose she slowly reveals, through fragments and letters, a tale which is genuinely chilling: it achieves that rare thing of leaving the reader physically affected. It has a kind of willingness to face the grotesque with intelligence and wisdom that calls to mind the dark novels of Anne Fine or Lesley Glaister - a fine debut all the more striking for being so absolutely assured in its use of form. 

Alice Kuipers

12 April 2015
In this dark, intoxicating novel, S.E. Craythorne writes about being loved and being lost. The style is understated and highly effective, the characters vivid and true, and the story compelling. It's a wonderful, devastating read.


Craythorne expertly applies the epistolary format to explore self-deception… Clues as to Daniel’s true nature leak out in the deceptively innocent tone of voice in each letter he writes, and as the novel progresses a dark tale of obsession, rage and loss begins to emerge. Prepare to have your emotions swing from pity to revulsion in this chillingly perceptive novel of a man who has completely lost his moral compass.
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Brighton and Hove Independent

There is something so compelling about reading a real, honest to goodness letter… A chilling read and so beautifully written that I know I'll return to this book again and again. It also makes me yearn for the days when I used to receive letters… although frankly, I'm glad that Daniel Laird isn't writing to me. You will be too.

The Bookbag

A compelling and ultimately sad collection of letters reveal much about their fictional writer. Leaving us skilfully dangled, we know that a shock is coming but not that shock! At times we may feel that we've found the darkness and can guess what’s coming.. [but] we're surprised throughout, spurred on by the page-turner breadcrumbs the author expertly scatters for us in an almost S J Watson-ish way. It's not a copy though. This may have a narrator writing theme to share with Before I Go To Sleep and is just as good, but still hangs onto an air of originality.
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