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Beastings Paperback – 3 Jul 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Bluemoose Books Ltd (3 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0992791936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0992791933
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 379,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The evocation of landscape is intimate and elemental - Myers has the potential to become a true tragedian of the fells." - The Guardian "Benjamin Myers is quite simply an excellent and already accomplished writer. His prose is taut, confident, professionally polished but at the same time maintaining a sense of rustic and unrefined authenticity, that which is truly hewn." - Judge Sarah Hall, Northern Writers' Award "This bitter, alarming, occasionally visionary novel of the British wilderness is likely to linger in the mind for some time." - New Statesman "Beastings is just wonderful - tough and generous and beautiful" - Will Atkins, author of The Moor: Lives Landscape Literature 'BEASTINGS is a brilliant, brutal novel, told sparsley but with huge strength. It put me in mind of Ron Rash and Cormac McCarthy in the attention to landscape, and its muscular tone.' Robert Macfarlane.

About the Author

His novel Beastings (2014) won the Portico Prize For Literature 2015, was the recipient of the Northern Writers' Award and longlisted for a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award 2015. Widely acclaimed, it featured on several end of year lists, and was chosen by Robert Macfarlane in The Big Issue as one of his books of 2014.Pig Iron (2012) was the winner of the inaugural Gordon Burn Prize 2013 and runner-up in The Guardian's Not The Booker Prize. A controversial combination of biography and novel, Richard (2010) was a bestseller, and chosen as a Sunday Times book of the year.Myers' short story 'The Folk Song Singer' was awarded the Tom-Gallon Prize in 2014 by the Society Of Authors and published by Galley Beggar Press.As a journalist he has written about music, the arts and nature for publications including New Statesman, The Guardian, NME, Mojo, Time Out, New Scientist, Caught By The River, Record Collector, The Morning Star, Vice, The Quietus and many and others.Benjamin Myers was born in Durham, UK, in 1976. He currently lives in rural Yorkshire, UK


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As this is one of the first reviews of Beastings, please take it with a pinch of literary salt! I'm not a student of literature and not a huge fan of fiction (although I am a well published non-fiction author). But I do like novels that feature the landscape as a central character and this is a mighty fine example of that genre.
What a book! On the surface, a simple tale; young dumb girl with hideous past steals a baby and escapes across the fells and valleys of the Lake District, a landscape vividly depicted in the book, and one that is utterly indifferent to the lives played out by humans upon it. The girl is hotly pursued by a deranged, powder powered paedophile Priest, who needs to catch up with her before secrets are revealed. He is accompanied by his polar opposite, the Poacher (and his dog).
Along the way various colourful characters are encountered in the landscape by both the girl and her pursuers. Some help, some don't. All are well written and believable. At least one of them - the cave dweller- is, I think, based on a real person.
The book's language is as stark and percussive as the landscape it describes and Myers uses northern dialect words and terms to excellent effect- always good to see `gormless' used in a book and who, other than those from up north, knows what `parkin' is, for instance. But don't worry, this adds rather than detracts from the writing.
Although the landscape is unforgiving, one particular scene shows that there is much more to the physical world than `stanes and watter'. Starving with hunger and on the point of collapse the girl comes across some edible looking mushrooms. Too hungry to care about a bit of sickness she eats several. They are, of course, hallucinogenic fungi.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A girl, an abusive priest, a baby, a chase across fell country. The material is minimal but completely overwhelming. The graphic nature of some of the description is quite stomach-turning, but the intensity of the writing means you just can't turn away from it. You gradually realise it's historical fiction, set in the 19th century post Darwin and Wordsworth - and a particular kind of camping stove! - but actually it's timeless. Powerful, visceral writing. This story will stay with me forever.
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By Bluecashmere. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 May 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
“Rain fell like steel rivets”. Myers’ strikingly sculptured prose is in even more evidence here than in “Pig Iron”. The references in other reviews to Cormac McCarthy seem to me entirely justified. I found that I had to remind myself on more than one occasion that the events of this story take place in the north west of England and not in a remote area of America. The simplicity of the tale dovetails with the Old Testament allusions that give the whole a sense of near timelessness. The characters are unsophisticated, but grip, not least the lively dialogue between poacher and priest which underscores the moral stance of the novel. Myers’ book is interestingly and refreshingly different from most current UK fiction. I hope that will not preclude it from consideration for literary awards. Recommended.
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I initially found the style of writing - with so few commas used - difficult to settle into. However, the bleak, gritty and gripping story-line, and fantastic descriptions of the fells, meant I soon found myself unable to put this book down.

Something about this story - or many things, perhaps - reminded me of 'The Colour of Milk': in both stories, a vulnerable young female finds herself in a situation over which she has no control; both girls are victims of the times in which they lived in and by virtue of their age and gender; and both stories reach unexpected ends, leaving one with an uneasy feeling and much to mull over as a consequence.

This story lost half a star because it felt somewhat designed to shock, whereas TCoM was more subtle. Still, I'd highly recommend this book to just about anyone.

4 Stars
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Format: Paperback
I don't often write reviews (too lazy) but sometimes you read a book that's so good you want to tell everyone.
Beastings is not for the faint hearted or those looking for some cosy escapism: this is a gut-wrenching read from beginning to end. It's a story of struggle against human and natural forces and the determination to survive. What elevates it to a truly brilliant book, however, is the masterful use of language; it's lyrical to the point that you want to read it aloud.
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Beastings is a uniquely absorbing book. Ben Myers employs lots of interesting techniques and narrative devices to create the impression that the characters, their thoughts, behaviour and even their speech is as much a part of the landscape that is the dominant force within the book. Very quickly, you feel as if you are drawn into it to almost the same extent. The story deals with the primal urges within our nature, both light and dark - motherhood, survival, guilt, vengefulness - and embeds it within the wildness of the Cumbrian landscape.

It's one of the most vivid books I have read. The detail, while economical, makes it impossible to not visualise what you are reading and the characters are so well drawn and rounded that you can't help but race to the end of the story. It's a very physical, satisfying story of struggle, bleak but with the occasional lightness of humour.
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