Top positive review
Brilliantly realised inner life of a teenage psychopath
on 18 May 2017
This is a book about gentrification of the scenic parts of Britain. It is also the tale of a disturbed and disturbing youth and is told through his eyes and in his voice.
It takes skill for an author to create a character with few if any redeeming features, but Raisin does it here. From the outset - the narration is on the first person throughout - the reader inhabits the mind of a teenage psychopath who already has a suspected rape in his history, as he progresses from minor acts of spiteful nastiness to obsession with an underage girl whose identity, in the last terrible pages, he seems to have confused with his sheepdog.
Much of the writing is in North Yorkshire dialect, which intrigued me, as it shares many words with lowland Scotland where I grew up. The tone captures the character's relentless self-pity and resentfulness perfectly.
The novel has a vividly realised sense of place - you are there where its action is happening. And its characters are real and believable. But in the end I found its chief character so repugnant (and a bit too much like Ian Brady whose death was reported just after I finished reading it) that, while I admired the skill with which God's Own Country was written, I did not enjoy it.