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LoveReading View on Ness

This is what a reading experience is all about, Ness touches, tests, pushes, strokes, inspires, and I have given this little book my heart. I have hesitated about explaining the background to Ness, but have decided that to know doesn’t unduly shape thoughts. Orford Ness in Suffolk is a shingle island which is constantly changing due to the sea and weather. It is the site of an abandoned military base where research included nuclear weaponry during the Cold War. The author and illustrator know this place, and have created a powerful lyrical read where nature takes steps to stop a crime against the world. It is a wonderful heady mix of novella and poetry-prose, a fantasy creation of word and illustration that took up lodging in my mind. A hagstone, which allows a veiled glimpse to the future or past, sits centre stage throughout the book, the illustrations by Stanley Donwood allowing a viewing station, a pause, before the next taste of action. The words by Robert Macfarlane sing, they just beg to be spoken, to be heard. As I spoke the words, I had the feeling that I was setting them free, and at the final few pages a shiver of emotion skittered down my arms. Ness is a beautiful yet fierce and frightening call, containing a warning that we should be shrieking from the rooftops. I have chosen it as one of my Liz Robinson Picks of the Month, and a LoveReading Star Book.

Liz Robinson

Ness Synopsis

Eerie, unsettling and hauntingly beautiful - a new collaboration from the bestselling creators of Holloway

'Ness goes beyond what we expect books to do. Beyond poetry, beyond the word, beyond the bomb -- it is an aftertime song. It is dark, ever so dark, nimble and lethal. It is a triumphant libretto of mythic modernism for our poisoned age. Ness is something else, and feels like it always has been' Max Porter, Booker-longlisted author of Lanny and Grief is the Thing with Feathers

Somewhere on a salt-and-shingle island, inside a ruined concrete structure known as The Green Chapel, a figure called The Armourer is leading a ritual with terrible intent.

But something is coming to stop him.

Five more-than-human forms are traversing land, sea and time towards The Green Chapel, moving to the point where they will converge and become Ness. Ness has lichen skin and willow-bones. Ness is made of tidal drift, green moss and deep time. Ness has hagstones for eyes and speaks only in birds. And Ness has come to take this island back.

What happens when land comes to life? What would it take for land to need to come to life? Using word and image, Robert Macfarlane and Stanley Donwood have together made a minor modern myth. Part-novella, part-prose-poem, part-mystery play, in Ness their skills combine to dazzling, troubling effect.

Robert Macfarlane is the author of The Lost Words with Jackie Morris, The Old Ways and Underland, among other books. Stanley Donwood is an artist and the author of Slowly Downward and Household Worms. His next books are There Will Be No Quiet and Bad Island.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780241396568
Publication date: 07/11/2019
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241396568
Publication date: 7th November 2019
Author: Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 96 pages
Genres: Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month, Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Poetry, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Star Books,
Categories: Myth & legend told as fiction, Graphic novels: literary & memoirs, Fantasy,

About Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood

Robert Macfarlane (Author) Robert Macfarlane is the author of Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places, The Old Ways, Landmarks, and The Lost Words, co-created with Jackie Morris. Mountains of the Mind won the Guardian First Book Award and the Somerset Maugham Award and The Wild Places won the Boardman-Tasker Award. Both books have been adapted for television by the BBC. The Lost Words won the Books Are My Bag Beautiful Book Award and the Hay Festival Book of the Year. He is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and writes on environmentalism, literature and travel for publications including the ...

More About Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood

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