It is dawn on a May morning. On a long, straight Roman road between two sleeping fields, a car slows as it arrives at the scene of an accident. As the lives of four people coalesce, we realize that mysterious layers of history are not only buried within them but also locked into the landscape.
A captivating novel of immense clarity, At Hawthorn Time is about identity, consumerism, changing boundaries and our own long, straight path into the unknown.
Any additional comments?
This is a tale which beguiles and grows on you slowly. It draws you in, after a slow start, until you realise that you have become emotionally invested in the story and the characters, way more than you would have imagined after the first couple of chapters.
The story starts and ends with the same accident, so that the end explains the beginning. In beteweentimes the narrative explores the characters involved in the accident and their relationships to one another and to the countryside in which they live.
The narrative is slow and gentle and full of references to the English countryside and how modern-day life there has been shaped by the past. It is also about town v country, consumerism v the simple life and the effects on peoples' lives when they fail to communicate. It explores how people are either shackled by the past or mourn for it (with respect to family life and the way in which country life and country-based occupations have irrevocably altered).
All-in-all a deceptively good book. The more I think about it, after a week spent pondering on what it was all about, the more I really love it. I will definitely read more of Melissa Harrison's work on the strength of this book.
Would you try another book written by Melissa Harrison or narrated by Gareth Bennett-Ryan?
Having really enjoyed Clay I was disappointed in this book. I do like the way she writes about nature and interweaves descriptions with the story but it didn't help to redeem the book overall.
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
The ending which I found deeply depressing. Because the whole book is also melancholy this was the last straw.
What aspect of Gareth Bennett-Ryan’s performance might you have changed?
It was a bit monotone