This is a GREAT novel. It is complex, it is subtle but above all - (and this is going to sound VERY weird), the pared-down style reminds me of George Simenon - or should I say, Simenon AFTER he took heed of the advice of his editor and just before he became REALLY great .
"Throw out all the literary stuff," said Colette, his editor and mentor.
Murning HAS written a literary book but , quite unselfconsciously, HAS managed to bin all the literary stuff. He's gentle on the adjectives and adverbs and all the rest of the prinked-up sesquipedalian nonsense . When you read, you can hear and feel Murning's no-nonsense Northern grit. In some passages, you will hear hear Sillitoe and Barstow, in others you can hear Murning the poet. He has delivered a story - a literary story but crafted by someone whose progress has been breathtaking.
You don't need to know where the story is set - you KNOW. You allow yourself to sink and wallow in the complexity of the idea, the relationships and the subtly sketched characters.
If you want to allow yourself to sink into an exceptional piece or work, delivered by a master storyteller - this one is for you.