As one might imagine about a 2017 Man Booker Prize finalist, Fiona Mozley’s debut novel Elmet is well crafted. The title, as explained in an epigraph by Ted Hughes, Elmet was the last independent Celtic kingdom in England and into the seventeenth century was a hideout for fugitives. The first-person narrator, a teenage boy named Daniel, lives off the land with his older sister and their father, a gargantuan fighter with a perfect record. Although the land once belonged to their long-gone mother, she sold it to a man who threatens their continued existence in a battle between classes. There are the poor who earn their survival through physical work, the rich who exploit them, and the educated who forge a different path.
“We all grow into our coffins, Danny. And I saw myself growing into mine” (273).
Through a guileless teen brother’s perspective, the author captures each character’s strength and vulnerability. There’s a lot of social commentary with such nuance and complexity that anything written here is a reduction. This is a gem for anyone who enjoys Cormac McCarthy or Marilynne Robinson.
Sarah Hutchins is an English Instructor and freelance writer and editor in Portland, Oregon. She earned a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Antioch University and a Bachelors of Arts in English from Portland State University. Her sagging bookshelves suffer from a peculiar fate: for each book read and removed, three or four magically appear in its stead. The books that find a permanent home on these same shelves are typically classics, French literature, philosophical novels and essays, and magic realism.
Miranda Brooks has loving parents and a doting uncle who owns Prospero Books. Her uncle, Billy, celebrated each of Miranda’s birthdays by entertaining her with a scavenger hunt and a visit to the book store. Miranda relished these birthday hunts [...]
The View from Alameda Island is a story about two middle age people trying to dissolve their own tragic marriages, separately but at the same time and possible second chances in life. Lauren Delaney lived the high life according to her [...]
Paulo Coelho, the internationally popular Brazilian writer, has published 18 books to date ― fiction, non-fiction, and occasionally a mix of both. His most popular titles include The Alchemist, Pilgrimage, Adultery, and a novel entitled Spy. [...]