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This book is so beautifully written that I felt I had to listen carefully to every word. The vivid descriptions of the settings and movements of the characters made me feel like I was a "fly on the wall". Wonderful images.
The narration was spot on -
The story was a sad but good one.
Overall - great audio experience!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
I’m not sure what to make of this novel. The language is often evocative, often beautiful in its descriptions of the natural world, but also occasionally sounds a false, overly elaborate note. The story itself makes sense only as a parable about the predations of capitalism, a world in which bonds between people are frayed by distrust and the cruelty and greed of the powerful. For a while, I was captivated by the elevation of a loner father protecting his children and teaching them self-sufficiency, but fairly quickly I became impatient with the simplistic, even reductionist analysis and the almost cartoonish characters.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
A surprise entry on this year’s Man Booker short list, Elmet is a tremendous first novel and promises a great future for Fiona Mozley.
Elmet was the last British Celtic Kingdom and it is to this myth and ancient history-soaked part of Yorkshire that teenage Danny and Cathy come with Daddy after their mother abandoned them and their kind granny died to live in a ‘sylvan otherworld’ in a wooden house built with Daddy’s own immensely strong hands. Daddy is the centre of the youngsters’ world, a massive man who makes money from illegal bare knuckle fights. But he has settled on land not legally his and is hated by Mr Price, the local deeply unscrupulous landlord, whose unpleasant son takes a sinister interest in Cathy. The atmosphere of land, sky and trees pulsate with deep-seated past clashes and crimes, and the threat of their return. Return they do, with sickening violence.
Mozley is a brilliant writer of the natural landscape and wildlife, and of an isolated way of life soaked in history, menace and myth. I was reminded of the atmosphere similarly created by Andrew Michael Hurley in The Loney and Devil’s Day (reviewed by me here on 17/12/15 and 10/11/17). Mozley writes beautifully, studding her text with shining imagery and details which come from minute observations – black fabric washed and turned the colour of a rubbed blackboard (exactly right!); gigantic Daddy’s breath released like a rush of wind between mountains.
The hideous conclusion is truly shocking with the details drawn out and of darkest noir – too savage for me – but the power of Mozley’s writing and control over this scene is remarkable. I would have given 5 marks overall if this scene had not slipped into another realm.
Joe Jameson’s narration adds a further dimension. There’s a great deal of local Yorkshire dialogue which heightens the powerful atmosphere of place and is more effective heard than read.
This one will stay with you. I’ll be looking out for Mozley’s next one.