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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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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!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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...

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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.

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  • cfarivar
  • Leavenworth, WA, United States
  • 01-19-18

Don't bother

This stroy was so confusing I got lost. I returned it. The narrator was very good.

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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.