'In this multi-themed and far-reaching novel, the dichotomies of reason and superstition, sanity and madness, science and faith, are given close and sustained attention ...This is an accomplished novel, suffused with intelligence and integrity'
`Following a nursing home assistant in Cambridge it is "a powerful read that explores the conflicts that arise between logic, religion and blind faith", according to The Bookseller'
--Independent on Sunday
The Bellwether Revivals is a stunningly good debut novel, a thrilling story of music and its hold on a group of young people's minds and lives. Benjamin Wood writes with vigour, precision and intensity, with a story that will keep readers up all night. --Steven Galloway, author of The Cellist of Sarajevo
'The Bellwether Revivals renders the cruelties and frailties of genius with acuity and tenderness, exploring the naive sophistication of bright young minds, the moral immunity granted to coteries of privilege, and the true nature of mastery in art. Seductive, resonant, and disquieting, Benjamin Wood's novel captures strains and cadences, qualities of music that are rarely rendered except in sound. --Eleanor Catton, award-winning author of The Rehearsal
`There's more than a hint of Donna Tartt's The Secret History about this novel, with Cambridge taking the place of Vermont... highly effective' --Daily Mail
`The novel ... has as its lodestone Brideshead Revisited ... a timely examination of the conflict between religion and scepticism, a theme explored with more rigour than in this novel's template. There, we rarely doubt that Waugh is on the side of grace and the supernatural. Donna Tartt's The Secret History is also in the DNA here, and there are echoes of another literary analysis of the unhealthy emotional bond between a brother and sister, L P Hartley's Eustace and Hilda. Does it matter that Wood wears his influences so clearly on his sleeve? Some may find the book reads like a contemporary filigree on its illustrious predecessors, but most readers will find themselves transfixed by this richly drawn cast of characters. The fact that Wood can hold his own in such heavyweight company is a measure of his achievement' --Independent
`An intense, claustrophobic debut in which a troubled Cambridge student believes he has the gift to heal, Benjamin Wood's debut plunges into the heart of privileged Cambridge where musical genius Eden Bellwether is the leader of a coterie of acolytes. Outsider Oscar - bookish and estranged from his working-class family - falls for Eden's sister Iris and becomes involved with Eden's conviction that he can heal the sick with the music of an obscure baroque composer. Things go wrong when Eden tries to `mend' Iris's broken leg, and then attempts to cure an author of terminal brain cancer. As events spiral out of control, the conflicts between madness and reason, religion and blind faith, become dangerously real' --Marie Claire
`Students have been in the headlines ... will it bring the campus novel back into vogue? With not one but two books featuring students out this month, it certainly seems the case. Written by graduates and both featuring Oxbridge graduates... The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood ... boasts a 21st century spin on a genre that once upon a time seemed only to celebrate lofty minded or louche toffs' --Mariella Frostrup - Open Books BBC Radio 4
`Read it. Quite a debut' --Patrick Neate --Lee Randall, The Scotsman
'Oh, how I loved this novel! I was drawn in from the very first sentence and pretty much didn't put it down until I reached the last. This is the kind of story that makes you want to hole up under the covers-with a box of cookies and a mug of tea-and not come out until you've uncovered the mysteries at its heart. And those mysteries that stay with you long after you reluctantly emerge from bed. I find myself constantly thinking of Wood's characters-wonderful, surprising Oscar Lowe and those beautiful, doomed Bellwethers. It reminded me, more than anything, of Donna Tartt's The Secret History, another novel that utterly consumed me, body and soul' Joanna Smith Rakoff, author of the New York Times bestselling A Fortunate Age
'This thrilling campus drama begins with the death of Eden Bellwether, a magnetic music scholar and the leader of a Cambridge University clique of undergraduates. The story unravels backwards as Oscar, a working-call nurse and wide-eyed, Nick Carraway figure, if brought in as the outsider-witness after being befriended by another Bellwether - Eden's sister, Iris, and becoming embroiled in the group's sinister 'experimentations'. A heady, Costa-award shortlisted debut that hypnotises from the very start' --Independent
'An ambitious exploration of doubt, hope and faith' --Lee Randall, The Scotsman