Hardback: 287 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: January 2021, Fig Tree, Part of Penguin Random House
Source: Tywyn Library
First Sentence: The morning sky lightens and snow falls on the cottage.
Review Quote: Unsettled Ground is a gorgeously written celebration of the natural world as well as a moving portrait of a family struggling against time. Through buried secrets and private longings, the Seeders emerge as multi-layered characters living at the fringes of society. This book is ultimately about redemption--about the unexpected importance of neighbours, lovers, and friends, and the ways in which we can re-envision our lives for the better, even after the unimaginable has occurred.--Lucy Tan, author.
Setting: Devizes area of Wiltshire, England.
Literary Awards: Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021
Claire Fuller is for me a new author, thanks to her book appearing on the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist, I decided to read it. Happy that I did as ‘Unsettled Ground’ was an absolute delight to read and now has a well-deserved placing on the shortlist.
A perfect title for a very unsettling read this novel tells an extremely moving story, with middle aged twins Julius and Jeanie as the central characters. Having lived at home with their mother all their lives her sudden death hurtles them into a world mainly unknown to them. It was a cultural shock particularly for Jeanie to discover some harsh realities about the world she has been sheltered from for so many years. The author creates a very realistic world in the beautifully crafted and harrowing story that this is. ‘Unsettled Ground’ is not an easy book to read and will surely tug at your emotions, from despair to rage and everything in between.
A highly recommended thought provoking novel whose main characters you will still be thinking about long after you finish reading.
Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:
What if the life you have always known is taken from you in an instant? What would you do to get it back?
Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people. At 51 years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty. Their rented cottage is simultaneously their armour against the world and their sanctuary. Inside its walls they make music, in its garden they grow (and sometimes kill) everything they need for sustenance.
But when Dot dies suddenly, threats to their livelihood start raining down. At risk of losing everything, Jeanie and her brother must fight to survive in an increasingly dangerous world as their mother's secrets unfold, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake.
This is a thrilling novel of resilience and hope, of love and survival, that explores with dazzling emotional power how the truths closest to us are often hardest to see.
Claire Fuller trained as a sculptor before working in marketing for many years. In 2013 she completed an MA in Creative Writing, and wrote her first novel, Our Endless Numbered Days. It was published in the UK by Penguin, in the US by Tin House, in Canada by House of Anansi and bought for translation in 15 other countries. Our Endless Numbered Days won the 2015 Desmond Elliott prize.
Photograph and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.