Elmet (Mozley) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
[A] lyrical and mythic work…[Mozley's] story is rooted, actually and tonally, in ancient soil. The mentions, early on, of cars and television sets are surprising, some of the first indicators that we're anywhere north of, say, the 12th century. The successful execution of this bold strategy, to voice a story set in the present day as if it could be happening nearly any time in human history, is just one indicator of Mozley's skill and ambition.… In its signposting and pacing, Elmet promises a reckoning, and we get one. The climactic scene is full of bedlam. It is also cartoonish. One might balk at its outlandishness, or squirm at its vivid, protracted violence, but it keeps your attention and doesn't leave any fireworks unpopped.… Despite the book's frequent attention to realistic details, it is securely situated in fable territory, and Mozley's sheer storytelling confidence sends the reader sailing past almost every speed bump.
John Williams - New York Times Book Review


Thrums with all the energy and life of the forests that surround the family.… Rhythmic and lilting, the writing is dreamily poetic.… Elmet is a rich and earthy tale of family life, sibling relationships, identity, how we define community.
Financial Times (UK)


An impressive slice of contemporary noir steeped in Yorkshire legend.… Elmet possesses a rich and unfussy lyricism.
Guardian (UK)
 

A stunning debut.… A wonder to behold. An utterly arresting novel about family, home, rural exploitation, violence and, most of all, the loyalty and love of children under siege.
Evening Standard (UK)


[A] magical debut novel. Set in modern-day Yorkshire, this dazzling debut feels steeped in a more primitive, violent past. Teenagers Cathy and Daniel are living self-sufficiently in the woods with their father—until their peaceful existence is threatened by a wealthy landowner. Narrated by 14-year-old Daniel in seductively poetic prose, the book shines a light on the toll of power wielded cruelly, as well as on a countering force: the extraordinary sustenance family devotion can provide.
People


Lushly written, yet perfectly understated.… What makes this novel stand out … is its dense palette of language, layer upon layer of image and visual description that transports the reader into an almost dreamlike world.
New York Journal of Books


[A] rugged, potent work whose concentrated mixture of lyricism and violence recalls Cormac McCarthy.… [O]verheated scenes of gore and overlong speeches … dissipate the novel’s power.… Mozley is best when describing the tight-knit family in its isolated splendor.
Publishers Weekly


One of the surprises on Britain’s Man Booker Prize shortlist…. American readers now have the chance to experience the novel’s atmospheric writing and its vivid portrait of a family struggling to outrun its past.… Elmet paints a memorable picture of fraught familial relationships and the perils of revenge.
BookPage


(Starred review.) [P]reternaturally accomplished … riveting and disquieting.… [A] suspenseful family tragedy stoked by social critique, escalated by men’s violence against women, and darkly veined with elements of country noir.
Booklist


(Starred review.) Part fairy tale, part coming-of-age story, part revenge tragedy with literary connections, Mozley's first novel is a shape-shifting, lyrical, but dark parable of life off the grid in modern Britain. Mozley's instantaneous success . . . is a response to the stylish intensity of her work, which boldly winds multiple genres into a rich spinning top of a tale.
Kirkus Reviews

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