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By Nina de la Mer
Published by Myriad Editions
ISBN 978-1-908434-29-6
Summer 2014


A powerful novel for our times, telling the story of reluctant lap dancer ‘Layla’, who is intent on earning enough cash to win back her baby son. Over the course of a chaotic week, she must make the biggest decision of her life and fight for the one thing she truly wants.

Author's Biography

Nina de la Mer's debut novel 4 a.m., shortlisted for the Writer’s Retreat Competition, was published in 2011 by Myriad Editions. Layla is her second novel. Nina was born in Scotland and grew up there and in Brighton, where she now lives with her husband and two children. 


'Scottish fiction of the year for me is Brighton-based Nina de la Mer's hypnotising Layla.' – Herald Scotland, Books of the Year 

'Blisteringly good read... Hayleigh's idiosyncratic voice is easy to love and you can't help but be drawn to this brilliant, searingly honest and darkly funny character.' – Hello! magazine 

‘Perceptive and forceful tale – Leslie McDowell, Herald Scotland 

'Hayleigh’s not a perfect heroine, but she is gutsy and worth rooting for.' – Emerald Street 

'An authentic work of modern feminism... [Layla] is a character who penetrates deep and leaves a lasting impression, as does de la Mer.' – The List 

'Compelling commentary on fantasy versus reality in the sex industry... Layla is a new Tess of the d’Urbervilles for our time.' – Bookkaholic 
'Nina de la Mer has a truly unique perspective and a gift for writing with insight, humour, sensitivity and a raw edgy sense of authenticity.' – Pamreader 

Price: £8.99

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Reader Comments

A difficult read but rewarding
This clever book drew me into an unknown world and let me live it . I stayed up late to finish it and came out a more tolerant and uplifted in a strange way.
My favourite book this year and I read a lot!
Amazing read,gripped the whole way through,so realistic.
A great read , the story brings to mind that there are other ways to life , and Layla brings that to life !!!
Set in the heart of London's lap dancing scene, the pyrotechnic prose drives the narrative of a story that is at its core a study of human nature stretched to its limits. Compelling reading.
brilliant read, real page turner. My book of the year.
A powerful and compelling book with a raw, original voice.
A brave and innovative book - well done, Nina.
Nina de la Mer has a truly unique perspective and a gift for writing with insight, humour, sensitivity and a raw edgy sense of authenticity. The novel wears Nina's extensive research lightly, there is genuine empathy for the dancers within these pages as she details the daily grind of a pole dancer's life.
Bleak and captivating!
This book is a knockout - fabulous characterisation, beautifully written and sweeps you along with great pace. Great writing.
Wonderfully written novel in second-person, an updating (an upgrading) of Jay McInerney's 'Bright Lights, Big City' with a feisty female protagonist.
Moving, powerful and simply wonderful.
Completely engaging, a look behind the curtain into the dark places of this world with the perfect balance of sleaze, humour, character and hope.
Layla is a fantastic achievement, beautiful and poetic - highly recommended.
A compelling portrait of a life lived on the margins. Great book!
fantastic and unusual, edgy and compelling.
Stimulating, powerful and fast paced. I was gripped. I loved 4 a.m. but Layla is even better. Nina de la Mer is a quite brilliant writer.
This book is a brave account of how good intentions are just not enough if you are fighting everything all at once. Hayleigh's background swamps her constantly. I have the feeling that this story describes the lives of thousands of disadvantaged women everywhere, not in the specific practicalities but in the struggle. I hope the pigeon flies again.
Fast-paced, gritty, and ultimately uplifting tale of a small town girl in the big, dirty city.
A superb read! Well done Nina de la Mer!
Raw and powerful. Layla is truly a story of our times, changing the way we think. And what incredible use of narrative voice. A clear winner.
Fast and furious read. By turns exasperating then hopeful. Leaves you reeling.
Cracking read, and (one hopes) an imaginative tour de force
The author takes a risk with this book: the second-person narrative could seem like an annoying contrivance - but the trick works, the narrative fizzes forward, ensnaring the reader.
A fantastic read.
A wonderfully compelling read with a feisty female character. What's not to like!
A great read.
Hayleigh is someone I was both drawn and exasperated by! This book took me out of my comfort zone. I am now more broadminded about people I encounter on the tube!
Powerful voice, gritty and gorgeous.
I loved this book! A truly gripping read. Layla definitely deserves to win.
Layla is a feisty stripper who tries to earn enough money to reastablish a relationship with her daughter ..and in doing so encounter the seedy and dangerous lowlife of London...she's a sexy feisty can't help rooting for her despite her horrendous right! Nina de la mer!
A really challenging but effective use of point of view. A gripping read.
The impact of this book is all about the protagonist, Hayleigh / Layla. Her voice is unique, she's off the rails, she's flawed - and yet heroic, in a very modern way. A gripping read.
Another stimulating success from Nina De la Mer!
LAYLA is a great piece of writing from Nina de la Mer. She introduces us to an underclass of young women who largely go ignored in literature (unless it’s crime and they’re being raped, slashed or bludgeoned) and gives them a voice. A truly contemporary story that deserves to be widely red.
Layla creates her own hope in this wonderful book. I feel it shows that when women are down they don't need to resort to prostitution like Zola's Nana, nor sell their hair or their teeth. There is more hope in the 21st Century than the 19th Century. The book also crucially demonstrates that prevention is better than cure. If Michael Gove would allow, a must reader for all fourteeen year olds.
Hayleigh's world is sleazy, depressing and chaotic, with moments of tenderness, humour and optimism. It's a compelling cocktail.
The most innovative, refreshing and insightful book I have read in many years. A clear winner.
All the pace of a thriller but with a social message too. A smashing read.
I just couldn't put this book down.I don't think I've ever rooted for a central character so much.The ending left me wanting that's the power of a great book!.
Fabulous read!