Addlands is the moving and engrossing story of the Hamer family and their home, the Funnon Farm, deep in the hills of the Welsh borders.
There is Idris, proud and insular, a man of the plough and the prayer sheet, haunted by the First World War. Then there is the boy Oliver, who grows to be a near mythic giant in the community, a fighter, a drinker, inescapably rooted in their hard, remote valley. And there is Etty, Oliver's mother, the centre of this close constellation, who navigates old ways and new technologies as she struggles to ensure her family's survival.
From the ancient silence in the hills to the encroaching roar of modernity, spanning seventy years, Addlands tells of human and animal; it speaks of the land and lets the land speak for itself. It is as vast and complex as a symphony but as pure and moving as a solo voice in an empty church.
Publisher: Granta Books
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 215 g
Dimensions: 197 x 130 x 17 mm
A truly ambitious mixture of social realism, folklore, Romanticism and imagistic paean to nature. To say it's Poldark meets Dylan Thomas is to undersell Bullough's clout as a serious writer, but in truth you could approach it either as a made-for-TV nourish romp or a cutting-edge work of art, and love it either way
The [characters] are realised so fully, and with such vitality, that there seems no doubt about the blood running through their veins... Bullough has a flair for alchemical descriptions, thrillingly repurposing adjectives and verbs... He also clearly savours the tang of his characters' tongues [with] occasional, gloriously unexpected sunbursts of humour
Tom Bullough's story of one family's struggle in a world of continuity and change is beautifully imagined and exquisitely told - passionate, lyrical, profound, sad, and sometimes, too, when you least expect it, very funny
Addlands is a gorgeous and painstaking evocation of the land and those who work it. Bullough's writing is a joy - disciplined, observant and musical, blissfully free of cliché
Addlands is a mesmerisingly beautiful novel, a haunting fusion of person, place and history
The visionary intensity of Addlands is always thrilling, often moving. Bullough handles a complex narrative with seemingly effortless skill and bravely chronicles ancient patterns of living whose future is insecure. He is turning the Welsh-English border into his own magical kingdom
Marrow-deep in its connection to place yet global in its thematic exploration and significance, Addlands does what literature should unstintingly aspire to do: make individual lives the essential stuff of epic. In crystalline, perfect, and stunning prose, Tom Bullough sites, convincingly and movingly, the entire history of these islands in a small section of Radnorshire. The presence of this book - in shops, in libraries, in homes, in the minds of its readers - will improve the broken, atomised world. It's an astonishing work of words
This is the book we have been waiting for from Tom Bullough, a complete work of art, astonishingly beautiful, deeply moving and gripping from first to last. Addlands appears to be a tale of the Welsh borders, told through the battles, loves and losses of its Heathcliff hero, Oliver, but it is much more - the story of how the land made us all, and how the last century has changed us. Zola would have saluted it, and pressed copies on his friends
An absolutely splendid book... Bullough roots the reader in the Welsh landscape, which like all inhabited landscapes is a place in flux - he wants us to make it our home, to get a sense of its light and shadow and textures. Of this place he's made a world that is rich and absorbing. Every time I'd pick up Addlands to read, I did so with relish - to return to these pages is to come back to terrain so lushly imagined that it feels luxurious to spend time there.'
Bullough's quiet insistence on the link between language and landscape crucially shapes the novel. His unapologetic use of the local dialect is a source of power, lending a rich and (to most readers) unfamiliar music to his prose.
Spanning 70 years on a remote hill farm in the lost Welst county of Radnorshire, Addlands is a quiet novel of enormous power [and] a haunting study of change and continuity... A quiet hymn to place, an exploration of the way in which our relationship to it makes us who we are.
An elegy to the changing countryside, and the ordinary heroism of those wedded to it, hard-working and hard-playing, and the inevitable losses and gains as time marches on.
[Addlands] has an elegant structural conceit... The narrative is, to coin another genre, Elegiac-Georgic... At its heights the prose glimmers and shimmers.
With a profound sense of place it traces the lives of three generations through change - the arrival of electricity, and later, second homers - and continuity.
We all come from somewhere, and we carry that place within us all of our lives. Never before have I seen this quirk of existence so beautifully brought to the page as in Addlands, the lyrical and intense story of a family and where they are from.
Bullough has written a novel of sublime attention and done so with great authority. Quietly passionate, dexterously evocative and engrossing, Addlands is indisputably relevant. It deserves to be recognised as such.
This lyrical novel, set in rural Wales [...] captures the intertwining lives of ordinary people with the natural world... Written with a poet's eye for evocative detail, Bullough's powerful tale evokes the bleak, brooding beauty of his native landscape... [while] his liberal use of local words... take you into another world... Addlands is an immensely enjoyable and haunting story - but keep a handkerchief nearby.
[Addlands] is a character study of a place and time and how the people moving through it leave their strange marks on its surface.
Set in Wales, this powerful novel tells of two generations of a farming family from the war to the present day. Bullough burrows under the skin of his characters, but what sticks in the reader's memory is the richly detailed evocation of landscape and the haunting melody of his prose
[Bullough's] unapologetic use of the local dialect lends a rich music to his prose... Bullough is positioning himself within a tradition of rural writing that, while registering the loosening of our ties to the land, continues to draw on the energies offered by those ties. If he sounds an elegiac note, he also makes it clear that we're far from finished, either with the land of with our evolving versions of pastoral