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Elmet (2017)

de Fiona Mozley

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
6314428,370 (3.82)64
"Cathy and Daniel live in the remote woods of Yorkshire with their gentle brute of a father, a former enforcer who now wants only to be left alone to raise his children. But when a powerful landowner shows up on their doorstep, a chain of violent events is set in motion"--
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» Mira també 64 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 44 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Interesting. Very violent climax. The book was described in blurbs as « mythic ». I’m a sucker for mythic, but I thought this unfolded predictably. It puzzles me that it would have been shortlisted for the Booker. The writing is good but all in all the whole thing is not THAT good. Still, I’d check out another book by Mozley and my three-star review is not meant to pan the book. It reminds me a bit of Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss, which I loved and was more convinced by. ( )
  jdukuray | Jun 23, 2021 |
A Novel Seared into My Very Being
Review of Audible edition
This is a story I’m not likely ever to forget. The story is poignant and made even more impactful by the narrator’s accent and voice. The writing is masterful and the prose beautiful.
There are a couple of plot inconsistencies or passages that strain one’s credulity. There is a minor inconsistency in the first-person narrator’s character development. But these flaws are not enough to keep this novel from a five-star rating
( )
  Chipa | Apr 2, 2021 |
Elmet was a surprise inclusion on the shortlist of the 2017 Man Booker Prize. Or perhaps, with hindsight, its success should not have been surprising at all. It is, in fact, a genuinely original debut novel.

The story is narrated by teenager Daniel, who lives in a rural area of Yorkshire with his slightly older sister Cathy and John, the man they call Daddy. Daddy is a burly giant who has a reputation as a prize fighter and survives at the fringe of legality. His fighting skills are put to good (for that read “dubious”) use by debt-collectors and by organisers of illicit bare-knuckle fights. John and the children lead a somewhat nomadic life, especially after the death of the children’s grandmother. They move to a rural area of Yorkshire, where Daddy builds a house in a copse on land belonging to local landowner Price. This not only attracts the unwanted attention of Price (to whom Daddy seems to by mysteriously linked by past events) but also draws the enmity of powerful businessmen who see John as a threat. Daddy resists, and finds himself thrust forward as the champion of the downtrodden and exploited workers and tenants of the area.

“Elmet” was the last Celtic kingdom of England, which later became part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. The novel is headed by quote from “Remains of Elmet” by Ted Hughes, which describes the area as a “badlands – a sanctuary for refugees of the law”. The title therefore juxtaposes the contemporary setting of the novel against a more timeless, ancient landscape. There are other elements which invite a ‘mythical’ reading of the work. The repeated reference to John as “Daddy” suggest that he is more of an archetype than a flesh and blood character. The simple yet lyrical narrative voice suits the teenage narrator, but is also redolent of the poetic language of legend. There are also clear references to tales of Yorkshire outlaws, particularly “Robin Hood and his Merry Men”.

This contrast between the ancient and the new is interesting but it also gives rise to some inconsistencies. John is often given a romantic aura – although a violent man, he seems to follow an ancient moral code, one which is, at heart, decent, coupling a respect for nature and with attention to the needs of fellow man. However, this ‘code of honour’ sometimes sits uncomfortably with the evidently leftist-liberal worldview of the novel, which is presented in no unsubtle terms. John’s children, for instance, very evidently represent a contemporary view on gender - Cathy is a strong female warrior (literally) whilst John is, it is strongly suggested, gay. On the whole, it seems that John is fine with this which, frankly, does not seem altogether credible. Indeed, in one of the initial chapters, there is a passage that implies that Daddy’s feelings towards Cathy verge on the abusive and which contradicts the generally positive portrayal of this giant. And John’s moral code, despite his defiance of the “bad guys” such as Price, is not too different from theirs, one in which disputes are solved through violence.

In my view, the novel works best if one reads it for its lyrical, narrative flow, and the sustained undercurrent of tension and violence which explodes in the final pages. The ending is deliberately harrowing and graphic, and I caught myself squeamishly looking away from the book. Yet, it fits the novel and is by no means out of place. Like Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss, also set in North England, Elmet explores contemporary concerns in a novel where the past seems to be continuously looking over our shoulders. ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Mar 5, 2021 |
Sometimes, pulling myself out of a dream to be awake and alive in the world was like pulling myself out of my own skin and facing the wind and the rain in my own ripped-raw flesh.

Elmet is an ancient kingdom from which the novel takes its name and on which Ted Hughes based the Remains of Elmet poems.

Around the year in 52 books challenge notes:
#33. A book about a non-traditional family ( )
  Linda_Louise | Jan 20, 2021 |
Beautifully written story that transcends time in an almost fairy-tale telling, though of the dark Grimm brothers variety. The action is narrated by Daniel who is clearly on the run after a cataclysmic event. It feels rather apocalyptic -- lots of destruction and end to the life Daniel knew, but piecing it together over time reveals a personal tragedy of a horrific nature. The narration alternates between this real-time present and the recent past, revealing the event that led to his life on the move. Daniel and his older sister Cathy are being raised by their unconventional, borderline outlaw father. He is a simple man and his love for them is the brightest thing in this book. But he is a rough man who fist fights for money, or plays the heavy for someone in need, and who lives beyond the realm of civilized society. Daniel describes Daddy: "They feared him or they owed him favours. Other people did not seem to possess the kind of love he had nor the care he took of them....Others saw reciprocity and debts, imagined threats founded in nothing more than his physical presence, ... his insistence on integrity, the old-world morality over which he presided." (83). Their mother is absent, possibly dead, but strung out on drugs and had squandered her land away. The children are feral, not attending school and learning from the natural world around them. They are all self-sufficient survivalist types and are beholden to no one. But the property John is building on doesn't belong to him and therein begins the drama. When the rich land owner decides to make John fall in line with his other tenants, John fights back with the support of the community. It ultimately comes down to a fistfight he must win. But an unexpected wrinkle involving Cathy explodes everything and Daniel's present day plight begins to make sense. Haunting. A Man Booker prize finalist -- the writing lives up to that distinction. ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 44 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Fiona Mozley’s Man Booker-longlisted debut is an elemental, contemporary rural noir steeped in the literature and legend of the Yorkshire landscape and its medieval history...Elmet possesses a rich and unfussy lyricism....Elmet belongs to a strain of northern British gothic that mirrors the variety that has long held sway in the southern states of the US. The gothic has always returned to us what we repress, whether that be monks hiding in priest holes or bodies buried in swamps...The embedding of such myths in the language and landscape of Hughes, dragged down from the moorland and into the woods, makes for a scarred, black gem.
 

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Elmet was the last independent Celtic kingdom in England and originally stretched out over the Vale of York...But even into the 17th century this narrow cleft and its side-gunnels, under the glaciated moors, were still a 'badlands', a sanctuary for refugees from the law----Remains of Elmet--Ted Hughes
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"Cathy and Daniel live in the remote woods of Yorkshire with their gentle brute of a father, a former enforcer who now wants only to be left alone to raise his children. But when a powerful landowner shows up on their doorstep, a chain of violent events is set in motion"--

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823.92 — Literature English English fiction Modern Period 21st Century

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Mitjana: (3.82)
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