At Hawthorn Time: Costa Shortlisted 2015 (Hardback)
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At Hawthorn Time: Costa Shortlisted 2015 (Hardback)

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Hardback 288 Pages / Published: 23/04/2015
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SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA NOVEL AWARD 2015 LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016 Four-thirty on a May morning: the black fading to blue, dawn gathering somewhere below the treeline in the east. A long, straight road runs between sleeping fields to the little village of Lodeshill, and on it two cars lie wrecked and ravished, violence gathered about them in the silent air. One wheel, upturned, still spins. Howard and Kitty have recently moved to Lodeshill after a life spent in London; now, their marriage is wordlessly falling apart. Custom car enthusiast Jamie has lived in the village for all of his nineteen years and dreams of leaving it behind, while Jack, a vagrant farm-worker and mystic in flight from a bail hostel, arrives in the village on foot one spring morning, bringing change. All four of them are struggling to find a life in the modern countryside; all are trying to find ways to belong. Building to an extraordinary climax over the course of one spring month, At Hawthorn Time is both a clear-eyed picture of rural Britain, and a heartbreaking exploration of love, land and loss.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408859049
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 423 g
Dimensions: 216 x 135 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
A magical, hypnotically strange book of love and dreams, tragedy and myth, At Hawthorn Time sent shivers down my spine. Soaked deep in hedgerows and fields, it is a profoundly unsentimental yet deeply compassionate meditation on searching for myth and meaning, on our need to belong, and the place of history in the history of place. Harrison is writing us a new kind of modern pastoral: peopled, raw, messy, and shining * Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk *
At Hawthorn Time is intensely moving, a book overshadowed by disaster but still careful, precise, and hypnotically beautiful * Evie Wyld *
Harrison's love of the natural world and its traditions vibrates poetically through every page, but this is an up-to-date reading of the national psyche ... Harrison's imagination is wonderfully strange, her writing beautifully assured and controlled. At Hawthorn Time is social satire, but also a political protest against the intensive and increasing privatisation of the countryside, and a love letter to the power of nature - which persists whether we understand it or not -- Kate Saunders * The Times *
Top of anyone's reading pile should be two beautifully written and original recent English novels - Will Cohu's Nothing But Grass and Melissa Harrison's At Hawthorn Time -- AS Byatt * Observer *
In graceful, measured and compelling prose, she can write whole pages about soil and stones, the hundred-year history of a hedge ... Her level gaze, crisp prose and sharp insight make her a fresh and valuable voice in both fiction and nature writing * Guardian *
The novel is as much a hymn to the ancient life-force of nature as it is a reminder of the underlying fragility of our busy modern world ... Harrison writes with impressive detail about our hedgerows, fields, and woodlands ... Carefully crafted writing -- Holly Williams * Independent on Sunday *
The landscape, indeed, feels like the most vivid character of all ... Harrison has a detailed, lyrical, surprising eye ... It requires a reader who is prepared to slow down to absorb the beauty, the detail, and stop demanding answers -- Lucy Atkins * Sunday Times *
Acute, effortless ... So much unforced life is here that Harrison is readily comparable with Elizabeth Taylor and Penelope Lively; but she has a distinction all her own - and her growing audience must hope to live long enough to read everything she writes * Spectator *
A nature novelist in the great tradition of Thomas Hardy and J L Carr ... Bracing and arresting ***** * Sunday Telegraph *
A heartbreaking exploration of love and loss -- Viv Groskop * Red *
Her perceptions encompass both the beauty and the indifference of nature to us and the way human beings are doing their best to destroy nature ... Harrison plays with our expectations very skilfully. Every time someone gets into their car or goes near a road, you wonder whether this will be the moment; the rich vitality of the season underscores the poignancy of what is to come ... Harrison has mastered a kind of writing which links people to place in a manner that amplifies both ... An absorbing work of fiction - one that promises bigger things in the future from this notably gifted author -- Amanda Craig * Literary Review *
If Robert Macfarlane and Helen Macdonald were to co-author a book with John Burnside and Adam Foulds, it might end up something like At Hawthorn Time ... In this elegant and gently melancholy tale what Harrison's naturalism highlights most is that as Jamie, Howard and Jack variously struggle to pull up or put down roots, their hopes and disappointments are seasonal. Like the road with which she starts, their lives, live everything in nature, however vibrant, will be overlaid by others -- Michael Prodger * Financial Times *
The new must-read novelist for any reader fascinated by the goings-on both outside and inside the heads of ordinary English people going about their daily lives, mildly unhappy but ever-hopeful in their pools of solitude ... Miss Harrison draws you into her characters' inner worlds through the use of third-person interior monologue in which the emotions are laid bare. It's mesmerising * Country Life *
Melissa Harrison is adept at blending nature writing with fiction, paying as much attention to her characters' relationships with the land as she does to those they have with each other ... With Jack as our lens, Harrison brings this ancient Britain into view and, as he walks along its old ways, so we learn of the old ways of understanding and working the land. These old ways are now, for the most part, gone, and At Hawthorn Time is in part an elegy for our dwindling connection with nature ... Harrison strips away our idealized pastoral vision to unveil the real countryside, lamenting its many losses yet also encouraging us to discover and celebrate the beauty that remains -- Emily Rhodes * Times Literary Supplement *
A gripping story which lingers in the mind * Independent, `This Year's Best Nature Writing' *

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Lizzie | @littlehux

“Fiction suffused with a living landscape and a gentle melancholy”

At Hawthorn Time is the 2nd fiction offering by nature writer Melissa Harrison, has just been longlisted for the Bailey's Prize and was also shortlisted for Costa Prize - accolades thoroughly deserved.

The... More

Paperback edition
5 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 57
Linda Hepworth

“A moving and delightful story.”

With her trademark elegant, lyrical prose Melissa Harrison has written a moving, thought-provoking story, using superbly drawn characters to explore many aspects of change. Change in the relationships and personal... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 7

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