A Christmas present in my stocking, this beautifully published book written by Fiona Mozley was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year.
Elmet is narrated by a young boy who lives with his sister and father. I lot is left to the imagination in this book; we don't get told how old he is, we learn his name two thirds of the way through the book and there is an absent mother for reasons that don't get explained.
Growing up in poor and rural Yorkshire with an Irish dad who doesn't seem to have a steady job but is known to be a fighter for money, the family come in to trouble with the owner of the land on which they have built a home. The story tells us how they resolve this issue, but also there are occasional jumps to later in the boy's life where he is travelling elsewhere.
I must admit that I struggled a little with this book. There didn't seem to be a lot happening and although some sentences were so full of detail, I think it would have been better for a few more gaps in the character traits to be filled in. Perhaps that is due to my own lack of imagination, though. The brief interludes at the start of some chapters when it jumps forward in time are odd and I don't feel really added anything to the story.
310 pages of clear and easy text meant that this book took me 3 weeks of low intensity reading to complete. As first novels go I think it will be really enjoyed by a lot of people and I would love to know if you've read it too, as there are a few points that are well worth discussion. For me this book is a little forgettable and if asked for a recommendation, I would mention it in passing, not press you to read it!