Elmet

Fiona Mozley. Algonquin, $15.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-61620-842-4
Mozley’s debut, shortlisted for the Man Booker prize, is a rugged, potent work whose concentrated mixture of lyricism and violence recalls Cormac McCarthy. A taciturn giant of a man, a bare-knuckle fighter who is the “fastest and toughest... in Britain and Ireland,” builds a house for himself and his two children in the Yorkshire woods, where “the soil was alive with ruptured stories that cascaded and rotted then found form once more and pushed up through.” In this secluded spot, he attempts to strengthen his two children, a slight, observant boy and an indomitable girl, “against the dark things of the world.” Dark things soon intrude as the family becomes embroiled in a bitter dispute with a villainous local landowner and his two entitled sons. That conflict generates overheated scenes of gore and overlong speeches that dissipate the novel’s power. There are nevertheless many eerily beautiful scenes, particularly one in which the grizzled father rigs up rustic Christmas lights deep in an ancient copse. Mozley is best when describing the tight-knit family in its isolated splendor, creating, and then clinging to, their “strange, sylvan otherworld.” (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/06/2017
Release date: 12/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
Book - 978-1-61620-844-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-68441-046-0
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4434-5604-3
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