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The Harvest [Paperback]

Christopher Hart
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

3 July 2000
A novel about adolescence and first love, about English nature and the profound changes affecting our rural landscape, The Harvest is a contemporary and unsentimental elegy for an entire class and way of life that is disappearing as surely as the English elm.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (3 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571203418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571203413
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,152,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

In the heart of Wessex, 17-year-old Lewis Pike is the last of a tribe, refusing the lure of urban life, desperate to cling to his village birthright. But what does a village mean? Is it the microcosm of a wider dysfunction, as drunken poet Gerald tells him? Is it the imposition of alleged rituals like the corn dolly the "incomers" want to introduce into the harvest church service? Does it lie in the memories of his elderly grandmother? In the community forged by the illicit dogfights? Is it a family heritage, when the family is now a charity case, and Lewis can't hold down a job?

Christopher Hart's first novel takes on profound, important issues, and refuses to take easy options. At its best, his prose is taut and brutal, reminiscent of early Ted Hughes. In Lewis, he creates an increasingly tortured and brutal young man, teetering on the edge of melodrama, but at the same time can evoke without condescension the warm badinage of a Friday night at the village pub. The subplot seduction by Gerald's lusty wife Mary is less convincing, perhaps because the characters and the situation seem to belong to stock literary types. However, there should be no doubt that Hart is a writer well worth watching, and The Harvest a valuable and rare treatment of England's besieged rural life. --Alan Stewart

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Recent reviews
'An exceptional first novel' The Sunday Times 'Christopher Hart has produced a brilliant, unsentimental, and frequently devastating requiem to a vanishing part of England' Metro North East

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sadness, yes, but wisdom galore! 15 July 2000
By A Customer
Christopher Hart had done a very difficult thing. He's taken the ennui of urban existence into the countryside where it all becomes rather lurgy and nasty in the woodshed.
He also seems to be concerned with the 21st-century male's dilemma. No bloodcurdling tasks left to do, just the hollow straw model of former glories. This is an intriguing, disquieting novel of a (typically)reticent English type. And all the better for it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars sad and compelling 13 July 2000
i found the harvest to be a very sad novel. what struck me was the lonliness and isolation of the central character lewis pike. who you felt belong to another era. i also found the novel very compelling and cared about lewis pike and had sympathy for his plight. lewis pike could be cruel but despite this he remains a very sympathetic and very human character. he is an inocent living in very cruel and uncaring world that has moved on at a pace that he finds difficult to keep up with. i cannot recomwend this book more highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting, unfortgettable read 10 Mar 2000
By A Customer
Unmissable - a tour de force of English country life as you've never seen it. If you only read one book this year this has to be the one!
Seldom have I come across first novels written with such passion and poetry. The only problem facing Mr Hart now is how to go one better with his second.
From the outset, a gripping series of twists unfurls a fascinating patchwork of dark, multi-layered characters in a tale of rural decay and urban greed.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear. 16 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The writer should have had a more strickt mentor to give him some feedback. The points are overly laboured and the language and style is influenced by certain modern fads like not having quotation marks for speech. Irritating without adding anything of value.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Countryside Classic 30 July 2007
I was on a day-trip to a local National Trust property a few miles down the road from my humble abode. Having strolled the estate grounds including a tranquil muse next a lovely large lake, I found myself in the setting of the house itself - where I found a secondhand bookshop in the basement! Well, this is where I discovered this fascinating first novel by Christopher Hart.

Christopher writes in such a simplified, natural and comfortable way, very much placing the reader into the nostalgic old lazy hot English summers in the countryside. The key comparison with the setting and that of the main protagonist is that of isolation. The village is a considerable bus journey to the main city, Salisbury. In synchronisation Lewis Pike is isolated in his own world in which no-one can fully comprehend. His very own demeanour is tainted by one of his closest allies, that of the bored housewife Mary. This is a classic example of one of life's hardest lessons - loving someone or something so much when it's snatched away quickly, leaving sorrow, resentment and often grief. Christopher expresses one extreme to the other - from the lust, sin and passion of a illicit affair to the abrupt self-removal of the temptress. Toying with the adolescent's emotions leads to so much turmoil. His anger throughout his troubled times can be seen by terminating the existence of innocent wildlife - birds, deers etc etc. His frustration is so pented up to pitch fever. The outcome is inevitable yet still shocking in its bluntness.

This novel is extremely significant to the fading bygone era of traditional rural country villages and their part in society of Britain.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic 30 May 2002
By A Customer
An extraordinarily powerful and convincing portrait of the death of the English countryside - told not as a rant or a sermon but as a deeply moving and beautifully written tale of love and loss - the kind of book Thomas Hardy might have written if he were alive today. Seen through the eyes of the tragic protagonist, 17-year old Lewis Pike, the English countryside - specifically the Wiltshire/ Dorset border - remains as mesmerically beautiful as ever, but its true inhabitants, the 'locals', the 'oo-ar oo-ar' joke figures of pathetic TV comedy, are gradually being driven to extinction by change and economics. Much noise is made about the vanishing tribes of the Amazon, say, or the Kalahari. With brilliant originality, Hart has here raised an answering and impassioned cry for the tribe that is vanishing under our own noses: the rural working-classes of England. This is a MUST READ!
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