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The Wolf Pit [Paperback]

Will Cohu
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 July 2013

In 1966 Will Cohu's grandparents moved to Bramble Carr, a remote cottage on the Yorkshire moors. The summers and winters he spent there were full of freedom and light; only after childhood ended was he aware of the price the adults had paid for life in this most romantic of settings.

Navigating family tensions and the trials of growing up, Will describes the close-knit community of North Yorkshire and his family's place within it: the shepherd probing the head-high snowdrifts for his flock; the pub landlord obsessed with military uniforms; the village doctor lost in his love for the purple moorland; Will's glamorous RAF parents; and, at the centre of the story, his beloved but enigmatic grandparents.

The Wolf Pit is an enquiring love letter from Will Cohu to his family, and to a changing rural England that is passionate, frightening and funny.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099542358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099542353
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 320,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Will Cohu was born in Guisborough, North Yorkshire in 1964, the middle of five children of a peripatetic RAF family. His mother's family were farmers and builders from Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire: his father's family came from Guernsey. He was sent to Barnard Castle School and later read English at Exeter College, Oxford. He worked as a theatre administrator and director and from 1992 began writing full time. He was a regular contributor to The Daily Telegraph, writing obituaries and the Urban Dog and Parker columns, in which he used the eyes and nose of his Scottish Terrier, Parker, to chronicle city and country life. In 2000 he moved to Lincolnshire after the birth of his first daughter, where he had a smallholding. His books include Urban Dog (2001), Out Of The Woods (2007) and most recently The Wolf Pit: A Moorland Romance (2012). The latter uses a biographical quest into his family to explore the relationship between people and landscape. It took three years to write, and and was completed with the assistance of a grant from The Royal Literary Fund. He is currently writing a novel, Nothing But Grass, set in Lincolnshire and due to be published by Chatto & Windus in 2013. Cohu has been shortlisted twice for the Sunday Times/EFG Private Bank Award, the largest prize in the world for short fiction. This year he was long-listed for Two Bad Thumbs, a story written entirely as text messages. He loves trees, especially those lonely and much abused ones in the street than no-one notices until they are gone, hills, rivers, digging, building, planting, cricket, his three children, the poems of Wallace Stevens, the diaries of Antonia White, The Master And Margarita, the nature writing of Richard Mabey, and Brendon Chase, the 1942 Carnegie-winning boys adventure story by Denys Watkins Pitchford. He lives in Lincoln.

Product Description


"A love letter to a family defined by a desire to make beauty and a gift for telling stories. The Wolf Pit has more quietly desperate heroism than any book I've ever read." (Brian Morton Sunday Herald)

"Persuasive, atmospheric writing. A love letter to a past world" (Sunday Times)

"Bittersweet" (The Times)

"The book takes on an existential desire to understand who we really are" (Spectator)

Book Description

A brilliantly written, atmospheric memoir of landscape and family, set in the Yorkshire moors and the Australian outback, by an acclaimed nature writer.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful book 11 Jun 2012
This is a beautifully written, profoundly affecting book about the author's family and his struggles to come to terms with love and loss. It is also a study of the ties that alternately hamper and free us and of the impact that place can have on our lives. Will Cohu has a lightness of touch that makes the material sing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wolf Pit - by Will Cohu 20 Jun 2012
By ChrisM
A beautifully written and very moving 'family history', with a sub-text of a love affair with the North Yorkshire dales countryside. As a southerner who is also in love with the same part of this country, and an admirer of good writing, I can only urge you to read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bittersweet and Painfully Honest Memoir 28 Aug 2013
Will Cohu's bittersweet memoir begins with an evocative description of the Yorkshire moors in winter, where a blizzard comes howling down Danby Dale, engulfing his grandparents' home, Bramble Carr, and its environs, in drifts of pure white snow; and it is these childhood winters, the author tells us, that were the beginning of his love affair with the North Yorks Moors. Will Cohu then goes on to tell the reader how his grandfather, George, and his grandmother, Dorothy, drawn to the beauty and bleakness of the moors, move to Bramble Carr, a sandstone late-Victorian house, in the mid 1960s. This remote little house becomes Will's second home during school holidays - a home Will longs for whilst he is away and feeling unhappy at boarding school. The author tells us how he remembers George sitting at the kitchen table, smoking his pipe and doing 'The Times' crossword, whilst Dorothy would be baking bread, sponge cakes and Bakewell tarts, or would perhaps be painting moorland scenes in her preferred medium of oil paint: "At times, the kitchen was a little cultural salon, which is - I think - what Dorothy wanted to create, a small piece of Bohemia in a cold part of Yorkshire." However, as cosy as this scene may appear, the reader soon learns that under this seemingly settled surface lies anger, guilt, jealousy and resentment. And, as we read on, we learn that it is not only Will's grandparents who have their problems, for we also discover that Will's parents are not compatible, and they too have difficulties in their marriage which, of course, impacts on Will and his siblings. Read more ›
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