The Borrowed Hills (Hardback)
  • The Borrowed Hills (Hardback)
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The Borrowed Hills (Hardback)

(author)
£16.99
Hardback 272 Pages
Published: 11/04/2024
  • 10+ in stock

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Waterstones Says

A visceral and stunning exploration of forgotten Britain, Preston's breathtaking debut follows two Cumbrian sheep farmers fighting for their existence as foot and mouth disease arrives in their community.

As foot and mouth disease spreads across the hills of Cumbria, emptying the valleys of sheep and filling the skies with smoke, Steve Elliman and William Herne, two neighbouring farmers, join forces to reverse their fortunes by rustling livestock from the south. With the struggles of the land never far away, Steve's only distraction is his growing fascination with William's wife, Helen. When their mountain home comes under the sway of a ruthless outsider, it is left to Steve to save himself and what's left of their farming community, in a savage conflict that threatens an ancient way of life.

A reimagining of the American Western for the fells of northern England, Scott Preston's thrilling debut tells of men and women battered by circumstance, struggling to make lives for themselves in an unyielding land. Lyrical, cinematic, visceral and steeped in local folklore, The Borrowed Hills is an epic tale of a forgotten Britain.

Publisher: John Murray Press
ISBN: 9781399812849
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 480 g
Dimensions: 236 x 156 x 30 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Preston's blistering tale of land and violence . . . is written in his distinctive Cumbrian voice, a vernacular stripped to its bones that encompasses stark prose and sudden startling flashes of poetry . . . The result is half Tarantino and half pitch-black northern realism that slides under the skin and lodges deep . . . A sucker-punch of a novel, edged with knife-sharp black humour and shot through with moments of startling beauty - Guardian

Preston's ambitious debut novel has a noble but surprising aim at its heart: to take the traditions of the western and move them to the hills and valleys of Cumbria. It follows two farmers, Steve Elliman and William Herne, whose flocks have been devastated by foot-and-mouth disease. In an effort to save their livelihoods, they are drawn into a perilous criminal scheme that could either rescue or ruin them. Equal parts Cormac McCarthy and Ross Raisin, this is a lyrical and readable account of desperate men - Observer

A spiky debut novel . . . the language delivers a strange poetry [and] blunt wit . . . a precisely focused novel with flavour, intensity and oodles of character - The Times

Preston's debut arrives like a punch to the gut . . . This is an elemental tale shaded in tones of heroism, machismo, moral intensity, and mythmaking. It's also a love song to the landscape . . . Gritty, gripping, and fearlessly committed. A notable beginning - Kirkus

Beguiling and darkly humorous, this is a searing exploration of real events that took place in 2001 - The i

A blistering debut . . . Preston's brilliant tonal range extends from epic heroism, as the men scramble after sheep on shale knee-deep in muck, to uncompromising realism . . . This dark and inspired tale pulses with life - Publishers Weekly

Utterly absorbing and original, Scott Preston writes with a poet's heart and a cinematic eye. A painfully truthful account of the foot and mouth outbreak and the effects it had on the farming community, The Borrowed Hills shows the other, darker side to the Cumbrian Fells and to rural life up and down the country - Rebecca Smith, author of RURAL

The Borrowed Hills shows us the Lake District from the inside, from the viewpoint of those who struggle to make a living from the land and who, when the bad times come, are driven to extremity and violence in order to survive. It's a startlingly original addition to the literature of northern England - Ian McGuire, author of THE NORTH WATER

Scott Preston lifts the veil from the picture-postcard beauty of Britain's Cumbrian fells to expose an atmosphere of festering despair in the lives of two farmers who lose everything when their sheep are destroyed by the government in order to contain an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease. When they take desperate measures to rebuild their shattered world, what happens feels tragically inevitable. The Borrowed Hills is a story of anger and violence, devotion, love, and back-breaking hard work, told with dark, dead-pan humour and a rough kind of poetry - Carys Davies, author of THE MISSION HOUSE

A remarkable debut. Taut, intelligent and beautifully told - M. J. Hyland, author of HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN

You could read this remarkable novel just for its dazzling prose, but there's more: razor sharp dialogue, meshed gear plotting, and above all a powerful evocation of a landscape and a way of life unknown to most of us, until now - Joseph Kanon, author of LEAVING BERLIN

An astonishing debut - rarely has a fictionalised Cumbria seemed so vibrant and full of life. Preston weaves a visceral magic with every sentence that will have you completely glued from the get-go. Your new favourite for 2024, I promise! - Jonathan Whitelaw, author of The Bingo Hall Detectives, Lakeland Book of the Year

A tremendously exciting novel . . . A brilliantly realized voice: Steve's every utterance is the product of where he comes from . . . as blunt and brutal as the fells he works among - Times Literary Supplement

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“The Hills Have Sheep”

Very few books pique my interest with the urgency that The Borrowed Hills did when I first heard Scott Preston present his book back at Cheltenhan in 2023. Fewer still have the lasting impact that this book did.... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 6

“A sheep-farming neo-Western for fans of Animalia and Lisa McInerney”

The publisher bills this Foot and Mouth inspired, Cumbrian hill-farm set novel as a neo-Western thriller with echoes of Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx.

While not disagreeing I would provide two further and for me... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 4

“Startlingly brilliant debut”

Scott Preston's debut novel, The Borrowed Hills, arrives razor-sharp, a brutal tale of foot and mouth disease in Cumbria and the lengths some farmers go to make a living in those beautiful hills. It's... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 3

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