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At Hawthorn Time by Melissa Harrison
  

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Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2016.

Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2015.

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.

Costa Judges' comment: “Moving, atmospheric, quietly compelling and at times heartbreaking.”


The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. ‘I feel like a ghost wandering in a world grown alien.’ Those words of Sergei Rachmaninov form the epigraph to this beautifully wrought, unsettling novel of contemporary rural England. Set in the village of Lodeshill over the course of a spring month, the book tells the stories of incomers Howard and Kitty, local lad Jamie, and Jack, a vagrant farm worker who has spent time in the area in the past. As Howard and Kitty try to find a footing in the small community that they have recently joined after years of family life in London, so they also struggle to keep their marriage intact. Jamie has always lived in Lodeshill, but for him everything changed when his friend Alex suddenly left; and for Jack, in flight from a bail hostel, suspicion and prejudice are never far away. Building to an intriguing climax, this clear-sighted novel is a fine work.
~ Karen Howlett

Synopsis

At Hawthorn Time by Melissa Harrison

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA NOVEL AWARD 2015 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.

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

'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

'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

'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

'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

About the Author

Melissa Harrison's debut novel Clay won the Portsmouth First Fiction Award, was selected for Amazon's 'Rising Stars' programme and chosen by Ali Smith as a Book of the Year for 2013. A freelance writer, occasional photographer and columnist for The Times, the Weekend FT and the Guardian, she lives in south London. @M_Z_Harrison

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Book Info

Publication date

25th February 2016

Author

Melissa Harrison

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Author's Website

melissaharrison.co.uk/
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Publisher

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Format

Paperback
288 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781408859070

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