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All Among the Barley
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Melissa Harrison
All Among the Barley by Melissa Harrison at Abbey's Bookshop,

All Among the Barley

Melissa Harrison



Fiction & Literature;
Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)


352 pages

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From the author of Costa-shortlisted and Baileys-longlisted At Hawthorn Time comes a major new novel. Set on a farm in Suffolk just before the Second World War, it introduces a girl on the cusp of adulthood

Fourteen-year-old Edie Mather lives with her family at Wych Farm, where the shadow of the Great War still hangs over a community impoverished by the Great Depression. Glamorous outsider Constance FitzAllen arrives from London, determined to make a record of fading rural traditions and beliefs, and to persuade Edie's family to return to the old ways rather than embrace modernity. She brings with her new political and social ideas - some far more dangerous than others. For Edie, who has just finished school and must soon decide what to do with her life, Connie appears to be a godsend. But there is more to the older woman than meets the eye. As harvest time approaches and the pressures mount on the entire Mather family, Edie must decide whose version of reality to trust, and how best to save herself from disaster.

A masterful evocation of the rhythms of the natural world and pastoral life, All Among the Barley is also a powerful and timely novel about influence, the lessons of history and the dangers of nostalgia.

By:   Melissa Harrison
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 135mm, 
Weight:   378g
ISBN:   9781408897980
ISBN 10:   1408897989
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   November 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Melissa Harrison is the author of the novels Clay and At Hawthorn Time, which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Bailey's Women's Prize, and one work of non-fiction, Rain, which was longlisted for the Wainwright Prize. She is a nature writer, critic and columnist for The Times, the Financial Times and the Guardian, among others. / @M_Z_Harrison

Melissa Harrison's All Among the Barley is an incredible evocation of one particular corner of rural England in the 1930s. Powerful and subtle and richly detailed, this is a book that inhabits its territory, knows its people, and follows its own haunting logic. Some of the great themes of English life are tackled here - class division, the patriarchy, folklore and psychosis, creeping fascism - but rather than being simply ticked off they are instead woven into the narrative with great subtlety and beauty. I've been following Melissa Harrison's work with interest for some time now, and with this novel she's done what I've long suspected she would: she's written a masterpiece -- Jon McGregor, author of 'Reservoir 13' Looking through Melissa Harrison's eyes provides a new way of seeing everything. Her descriptions of nature are so vivid that in some passages you hear and smell as well as see. Such original and intelligent writing is rare * Literary Review * A powerful exploration of rural lives, nationalism and nostalgia -- Alex Preston, 'The Best Fiction of 2018' * Observer * A novel of acute psychology and subtle political sense, portrayed in language of sheer largesse. It describes a land resplendent and saturated with summer, but known dangers flicker on the edges: debt, crop failure, illness and accident ... Set in Suffolk, mainly in 1934, it is an exquisitely intelligent take on the pastoral form * TLS * A powerful and lyrical coming-of-age story from a writer who is fast establishing herself as one of the best contemporary exponents of the pastoral novel * Observer * Nostalgia, nationalism and superstition all play their part in an acutely observed narrative that is as pertinent to the here and now as it is evocative of its time and place -- The Best New Fiction * Mail on Sunday * All Among the Barley is a work of rare magic -- Helen Macdonald, author of 'H is for Hawk' What a brilliant and timely novel All Among The Barley is. Deeply evocative of a historical moment - rural England between the wars, before mechanisation - it is also, unmistakably, about questions that press hard on us now, above all the dangers of nationalism, and how easily a love of place can be corrupted into something dark and exclusionary. This is an important book by a writer of great gifts -- Robert Macfarlane In All Among the Barley, Melissa Harrison has created a central character to rival Cassandra in I Capture the Castle. A remarkable and haunting book -- Evie Wyld A beautiful, heartbreaking novel of great power. Melissa Harrison has built a world for us, and peopled it, making it solid and real, and all the time making one aware of an awesome fragility - of human minds and bodies, of farmers under politicians and under nature, of ideas that might transform lives or might destroy them. I've been privileged to inhabit this world -- Tim Pears, author of 'The Horseman' Both beautifully evocative and a gripping read - a rare combination ... Throughout, it is suffused with the gorgeous language and keen insight into the natural world that has marked Harrison's work since Clay * Harper's Bazaar * Melissa Harrison is a dazzlingly gifted writer, and All Among the Barley confirms her as a novelist whose lyrical descriptions of nature and rural English life, harnessed to a gripping plot and varied cast of characters, deserves the widest readership. This is right up with the very best classic novels of inter-War country life - its beauties, sorrows, injustices and realities -- Amanda Craig, author of 'The Lie of the Land' Harrison is readily comparable with Elizabeth Taylor and Penelope Lively; but she has a distinction all her own - and her growing audience must hope to live long enough to read everything she writes * Spectator * Harrison's love of the natural world and its traditions vibrates poetically through every page ... Harrison's imagination is wonderfully strange, her writing beautifully assured and controlled * The Times * Harrison's surpassed herself with this one * A Life in Books * Melissa Harrison's powerful third novel is a sympathetic portrayal of a mind unravelling in the context of a community that is likewise losing its way. A glimpse of history with a lesson for today * Annethology * A heartbreaker of a book * Psychologies *

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