Elmet by Fiona Mozley


Elmet by Fiona Mozley

The journey that was Elmet all began on a journey and the end result for Fiona Mozley is that Elmet is a compelling and dramatic debut novel that ended up becoming shortlisted for one of the most prestigious book prizes The Man Booker Prize.


Elmet is dark and there is also something very Gothic in its setting and telling. Set in the Yorkshire countryside and is a dramatic telling of what is a family that is troubled. The narrator is Daniel and he lives with his sister Cathy together with their father John who is a fighter and not one to mess with.

John takes his children and they build a house and settle in. Their mother who seemed never to be close was never around the children and then just disappeared they then lived with Granny Morley and all seemed to be working well. They went to School and now they have retreated from society and live in the woods. While Daniel seems to be the quieter preferring to read, Cathy likes to explore the woods.

The family are now separated from the real life and people of the town and so they more or less live off the land and fend for themselves. There is Vivien with whom their father has some sort of relationship with and now the children will be taught by Vivien.  But trouble is not far away as Daddy has built the house with his own hands. But now the man who claims to own the land Mr Price has come to call. He claims the land is his after their mother handed over the deeds as some sort of repayment against debt she had. At this point my thoughts were running away with me, was there something going on between the children’s mother and Mr Price? What follows is a chilling threat to their very existence and it is real and dark. Now the struggle over the families very existence begins. This is a family that is close and will stay that way through to the end. However, it ends. They will stick by each other.

When the book moves into the final stages the pace increases and this is where it got so fast that I just wanted it to slow down a bit. Now the nail biting finale is coming up a battle for survival. Sweeping, dark and dramatic are words that came to mind and also resembles the surrounding countryside. The book left me with a headache but not in a bad way it was just I became so involved in this drama that was being played out. This is an incredible breakthrough novel that was never going to deliver an ending that is satisfactory.

Elmet deserved its place on the shortlist and was one of my tips to win, many have sung its praises. Let’s be clear this is not a feel good book and not one to read if you need cheering up. I loved Elmet and many who come to discover it now will also come to love Fiona Mozley’s writing. It left me wondering what is to come next from this very exciting new writing talent. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

320 Pages.

Elmet by Fiona Mozley is published by John Murray and was published on 10th August 2017 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.

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