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Publisher's Summary

In this atmospheric and profoundly moving debut, Cathy and Daniel live with their father, John, in the remote woods of Yorkshire, in a house the three of them built themselves. John is a gentle brute of a man, a former enforcer who fights for money when he has to, but who otherwise just wants to be left alone to raise his children. When a local landowner shows up on their doorstep, their precarious existence is threatened, and a series of actions is set in motion that can only end in violence. Steeped in the natural world of northern England, this is a lyrical commentary on the bonds of siblings and fatherhood, and on the meaning of community in the modern world. Elmet marks the launch of a major new voice in literary fiction.

©2017 Fiona Mozley (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • DM
  • 01-06-18

Strains credibility

I’m not sure what to make of this novel. The language is often evocative, often beautiful in its descriptions of the natural world, but also occasionally sounds a false, overly elaborate note. The story itself makes sense only as a parable about the predations of capitalism, a world in which bonds between people are frayed by distrust and the cruelty and greed of the powerful. For a while, I was captivated by the elevation of a loner father protecting his children and teaching them self-sufficiency, but fairly quickly I became impatient with the simplistic, even reductionist analysis and the almost cartoonish characters.

163 of 173 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written and narrated

This book is so beautifully written that I felt I had to listen carefully to every word. The vivid descriptions of the settings and movements of the characters made me feel like I was a "fly on the wall". Wonderful images.

The narration was spot on -

The story was a sad but good one.

Overall - great audio experience!

53 of 59 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rebecca
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 02-12-18

Exquisite

This is a wonderful novel, language driven.
Not an easy story. Brutal. But absolutely worth it.
In a small town on the coast of Northern England, two children are being raised by their grandmother. Daddy is an enormous man, an absent man mostly. Huge, unrivaled in size or strength, his body is rented out to the wealthy landowner for collecting rents and enforcing rulings. But things are changing...

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved every minute, even as I was crying.

Dark, elegant, and beautiful words. I loved this story. The author made it beautiful the reader made it ethereal.
I will look for more books by both of them in the future.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unforgettable story; well performed

An unforgettable story, with memorable characters. Some of the writing could have been cleaned up a bit and the dialogue was stiff in spots and with wordy, long explanations where narrative should have been used. But these are minor defects. As a whole this is a superb book.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A family that seems dysfunctional is really very sane

This book was chosen for our book club. This is about a father raising his daughter and son the best he could. When we try to do our best in raising our children, people can be bullies and use us as targets. Interesting perspective of living off the land

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • D. Hile
  • Evans, GA United States
  • 07-01-18

Good illustration of Class strife

This is a good illustration of an the classic Scotts/Irish/UK underclass. Some might call the book an inditement of capitalism but i saw this as more of a clear illustration of the strife of lower working class whether it be in UK, Canada or US there are similar sociological factors at play and instated in this story. One might hear real life stories similar to this in A Hillbilly Elegy or hear how these same social factors come into play in the African American community in Black Rednecks and White Liberals.

The narration is excellent and the author's use of language to lustrate is very very good.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Can’t wait for more from Ms. Mozley

Excellent book, with gorgeous descriptions of the natural world and a few of its inhabitants. Dark and light, cozy and abrasive. I really loved this book.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Young Author First Novel Masterpiece

This young author has tremendous talent. A second listen helps because chunks of text that properly belong at the end are inserted throughout the book, a nice artistic touch which gives insight into the character of Daniel. I listened three times, discovering more each time. Somehow, despite the seaminess, corruption and violence, I found love and value, intelligence, a great world of hope for growing kids. We have outlier communities in the U.S., possibly in the mountains of northern California, for example. In the last century we have had people who wanted to do everything from scratch, do it their way, and home school. Most of us are under the thumb of some brute. The book helped me through a month of abusive senior subsidized housing inspection involving what amounted to 7 days total of almost house arrest waiting for inspectors, making nice to the corporate hierarchy.
The narrator was quite perfect. For the women’s voices, he WAS a woman! My people are mostly from the British Isles, and I’ve had a lifetime of the good UK books, audio books, Masterpiece Theatre TV, etc. He certainly got the right nasty intonation for the Price boys. Skillful and subtle, a pleasure to listen to, he WAS Daniel.
The violence in the book is not gratuitous and is no worse than that in Steig Larsson’s Girl Who books. I loved the respect for wildlife, trees and plants. I loved all the description. I probably missed hints at the adult relationships before the kids were born. The ending was okay by me. I figure they’ll meet up on the other side, and the bad guys always pay in the end, even if we don’t get to see it. You have to love a brother who cuts colored paper for holiday decorations and bakes holiday cakes. You have to admire a woman who can roll her own cigarettes and strangle her would-be rapist. In this country we look at the cars and clothes and – increasingly – teeth and haircuts. We don’t expect our trailer trash to read books and know things. God, I love this book! Be happy and keep writing, dear Fiona!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Stopped Listening, but Didn't Return

I stopped listening but didn't return because I may get back to it. The characters were well developed, the setting captivating, but I felt one thing, one big thing was missing - THE PLOT. After listening to 13 chapters, well, I still didn't know what the problem in the story was about. It seems a main character returns to the family home, but I didn't know he even left. With so many fabulous reads out there, does anyone know if it's worth picking up again?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Rachel Redford
  • 02-05-18

Slow descent into Yorkshire noir

A surprise entry on this year’s Man Booker short list, Elmet is a tremendous first novel and promises a great future for Fiona Mozley.

Elmet was the last British Celtic Kingdom and it is to this myth and ancient history-soaked part of Yorkshire that teenage Danny and Cathy come with Daddy after their mother abandoned them and their kind granny died to live in a ‘sylvan otherworld’ in a wooden house built with Daddy’s own immensely strong hands. Daddy is the centre of the youngsters’ world, a massive man who makes money from illegal bare knuckle fights. But he has settled on land not legally his and is hated by Mr Price, the local deeply unscrupulous landlord, whose unpleasant son takes a sinister interest in Cathy. The atmosphere of land, sky and trees pulsate with deep-seated past clashes and crimes, and the threat of their return. Return they do, with sickening violence.

Mozley is a brilliant writer of the natural landscape and wildlife, and of an isolated way of life soaked in history, menace and myth. I was reminded of the atmosphere similarly created by Andrew Michael Hurley in The Loney and Devil’s Day (reviewed by me here on 17/12/15 and 10/11/17). Mozley writes beautifully, studding her text with shining imagery and details which come from minute observations – black fabric washed and turned the colour of a rubbed blackboard (exactly right!); gigantic Daddy’s breath released like a rush of wind between mountains.

The hideous conclusion is truly shocking with the details drawn out and of darkest noir – too savage for me – but the power of Mozley’s writing and control over this scene is remarkable. I would have given 5 marks overall if this scene had not slipped into another realm.
Joe Jameson’s narration adds a further dimension. There’s a great deal of local Yorkshire dialogue which heightens the powerful atmosphere of place and is more effective heard than read.

This one will stay with you. I’ll be looking out for Mozley’s next one.