Beastings Paperback – 3 Jul 2014
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"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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extremely well written. Visceral, vivid, gripping story.Published 5 months ago by Fly Me to the Moon
What a book! My only regret is that there isn't another star I can give it... a truly exceptional readPublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Bleak and at times depressing but beautifully written, evocative and worth seeing through to the endPublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Loved this book. The narrative style with lack of punctuation makes if compelling reading and encourages reading at pace, it also adds to the strangeness of the story. Read morePublished 9 months ago by JH
Really enjoyed it. Very dark at times but very thought provoking and loved the descriptions of the landscapes and how that reflected in the characters.Published 10 months ago by Julie Young
Dark, gritty, harrowing. Right up until the end I felt I was in the bleak, cold, wet lake district. This was an intense book to read. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Pip