Elmet by Fiona Mozley


FINALIST FOR THE 2017 MAN BOOKER PRIZE "A quiet explosion of a book, exquisite and unforgettable." —The Economist"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...

Details Elmet

Release DateDec 5th, 2017
PublisherAlgonquin Books
GenreFiction, Literary Fiction, Contemporary, Novels, European Literature, British Literature, Adult Fiction, Family, Literature, Adult, Did Not Finish

Reviews Elmet

  • Angela M
    4.5 stars. The writing is beautiful. I found myself rereading many passages because I wanted to see or feel what is described again. The writing is lyrical with amazingly visual descriptions of this rural area in the woods in the north of England. There's such a sense of place and I always hesitate to call a book atmospheric not wanting to overuse the term, but it is the best description I can come up. Yet, if I didn't know I was reading a novel ...
  • Paromjit
    This is a beautiful and lyrically written piece of Gothic Noir, drawing on the ancient area of Celtic Elmet, comprising West Riding in Yorkshire, Ted Hughes's 'badlands' providing sanctuary to those on the run, and the folklore surrounding Robin Hood. The narrative is from the point of view of a 14 year old Daniel. Daniel, his sister, Cathy and their larger than life father, John, referred to as Daddy, relocate to a rustic area that their mother ...
  • Hugh
    This book was the only genuine surprise on this year's Booker longlist, a first novel by a young British writer. I would be very happy to see this book make the shortlist - there may be at least six better books on the longlist but none of them would benefit as much from the exposure, and this is a promising debut by a talented writer. This was the most unexpectedly welcome inclusion on the shortlist. Very disappointed to lose Reservoir 13, Home ...
  • Hannah Greendale
    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.
  • Cheri
    4.5 Stars ”We arrived in summer when the landscape was in full bloom and the days were long and hot and the light was soft. I roamed shirtless and sweated cleanly and enjoyed the hug of the thick air. In those months I picked up freckles on my bony shoulders and the sun set slowly and the evenings were pewter before they were black, before the mornings seeped through again. Rabbits gamboled in the fields and when we were lucky, when the wind w...
  • Mercedes
    4.5 stars
  • Rebecca Foster
    (4.5) Shortlisted for the Booker Prize!The dark horse in this year’s Man Booker Prize race is a brilliant, twisted fable about the clash of the land-owning and serf classes in contemporary England. I’d love to see it win, though George Saunders seems like a shoo-in. You’d hardly believe it’s a debut novel, or that it’s by a 29-year-old PhD candidate in medieval history. The epigraph from Ted Hughes defines “Elmet” as an ancient Celt...
  • Peter Boyle
    One of the things I like most about the Booker Prize is the way it can shine a light on unknown writers. Elmet was a surprise entry on this year's longlist, and it caused further upset by making the final six at the expense of much acclaimed novels such as The Underground Railroad and Solar Bones. So is this brooding debut deserving of its shortlist status, and can it go on and win the whole thing?The story is set in rural Yorkshire. Daniel Olive...
  • Maxwell
    This book had elements that reminded me of His Bloody Project and Eileen. It tells the story of Daniel, the narrator, and his sister, Cathy, who live in a house they build on land that isn't theirs with their 'Daddy.' He is affectionately referred to as 'Daddy' throughout the story which is juxtaposed by his burliness and willingness to fight for his family when necessary. The characters are well drawn, especially the main 3, and the story find...
  • Meike
    A young woman pursuing a PhD in medieval history writes a tale dominated by Southern Gothic elements, but situated in rural Britian, circling around themes like possession, belonging, gender, and revenge - wow, what a set-up! "Elmet" is narrated by a teenage boy named Daniel, who lives with his father John and his sister Cathy in a house they built with their own hands. Although the narrated time is not specified, the story does obviously take pl...
  • Britta Böhler
    An amazing debut. 4.5*
  • Rosh
    This debut novel is about an inaccessible world, familial loyalty and the impact of unfettered violence on lives. Interesting subject matter but more like a sketch for a novel rather than a fully- fledged novel. The realistic elements somehow jarred with the fantasy or fairy-tale element so part of me kept asking where were social services in all this? The ending was a bit like a Quentin Tarantino film. As others have pointed out, the first-perso...
  • Paul Fulcher
    ‘Means nothing to me.’ ‘I can help,’ I said tentatively. He shook his head. ‘No, lad, it’s not that. I can read well enough to understand what it says. It’s idea a person can write summat on a bit of paper about a piece of land that lives and breathes, and changes and quakes and floods and dries, and that that person can use it as he will, or not at all, and that he can keep others off it, all because of a piece of paper. That’s p...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    When I saw this book on the Man Booker Prize long list, I ordered it from the UK. It sounded like just my thing and had a beautiful cover! My expectations weren't met, exactly, but I still think I would read whatever the author did next. Some of the observations she had other characters make, like when Vivien compares their father to a whale, were rather thought-provoking and unique. The only other page I marked is a few chapters later, when the ...
  • Jessica Darling
    A modern gothic, rural melodrama. At it's heart 'Elmet' is the gritty story of a complex family dynamic and a good vs. evil battle that has us rooting for the questionably deplorable underdog. A solid 4 stars to start with, with a few days to mull over this story, this has crept up to a well deserved 5 stars from me.At the head of our tight knit familial trio, we have 'Daddy'. A violent and damaged man who is driven by a primal love and need to c...
  • Trudie
    Finally getting to the last of the books I had an interest in reading from the 2017 Booker shortlist. Elmet generally referred to as the out of left field contender, the book written by the second youngest author to be nominated, typed out on her phone on her commute to work (look what you can achieve when not idly playing Words with Friends).It's perhaps too easy to be dismissive of this novel, particularly when much of the discussion focuses ...
  • Neil
    This is the book on the Man Booker Longlist for 2017 of which I had never heard and which I would probably never have read but for its inclusion on that list.Am I glad the Booker judges picked it and that, therefore, I read it? To be honest, I’m not sure.It tells the tale of John Smythe and his two children Cathy and Daniel (not Smythe, for reasons that are explained during the story). It is narrated by Daniel looking back on events. When John ...
  • Jonathan Pool
    I wonder if Fiona Mozley's English literature degree worked over the greats of English literature? DH Lawrence? Thomas Hardy? The Brontes?The influence of these writers, and the rural, unmodernised, settings of Elmet clearly indicates such influence. (Though Elmet is in the 1980's in northern England).I thought Elmet was lightweight for the most part. I struggled to find any great originality in the central characters.Cathy. An amalgam of Elena F...
  • Lucy Banks
    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.Intense, earthy but there were some areas I wasn't totally sure about.As it was a runner for the Booker prize (and a debut author - wow!) I really wanted to check this book out. For the most part, I'm glad I did - it was a compelling read.The narrative voice is Daniel, a lad who lives in relative poverty with his sister Cathy and his father, who earns money from fight...
  • Gumble's Yard
    Now shortlisted for the Booker prize - which caused me to re-read the book (having originally read it immediately after its longlisting and writing what I think was the first review of the book). A number of other reviewers have also criticised the narrative voice of Daniel as a sometimes uneasy mix of uneducated dialect and beautiful descriptions (a criticism I have raised of another Booker longlisted book Days Without End) - but on re-reading t...
  • Jennifer
    A bleak, slow story with modern-day Robin Hood vibes, set in the Yorkshire countryside. Two teenagers, Danny and Cathy, live with Daddy in a house he built for them, living off the land and rarely socializing with anyone else. As they become embroiled in struggles against corrupt landowners, Mozley explores class, gender roles, and what it means to own land. The narration is intentionally stilted (the uneducated narrator speaks like a PhD student...
  • Marjorie
    15-year-old Cathy and 13-year-old Daniel have been living with their grandmother but when she dies, their father moves them to a land to which their family has some ties and builds a home for them there. Their father, John, is a huge, strong man who sometimes will enter into a prize fight to earn some money. He once worked as an enforcer for Mr. Price, the evil landlord of the story. While there’s a violent side to John, there also is a very ge...
  • Robert
    Now shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. A pleasant surprise. If this nabs the prize it would be a sort of underdog win Every year The Man Booker Longlist usually features a small percentage of well known authors a couple of debuts and a spattering of unknown authors and their second novels. This year the list only featured one debut author who was new to me and that was Fiona Mozley with Elmet.Daniel and his sister Cathy live with their father ...
  • Maria ní Chnoic
    4.5 Stars rounded up because of the ending.What can you say about this one? This novel is written in the first person from the perspective of Daniel. As his Daddy declares, at one juncture of the story, 14/15 year old Daniel is one unusual boy. He has a beautiful lyrical way of seeing the world and a gentle more traditionally feminine way of behaving. Both his Daddy and his older sister Cathy are physically violent , and yet they are both steady ...
  • Simona
    Narrator of the story is 15 year old Daniel and the story is built on the atmosphere, dark and heavy until it falls into a tragedy. The common thread of different ideas (social injustice, growing up, the search for identity, labour exploitation, etc.) is home, family - a sense of belonging and in the wider context - property ownership, land. The protagonists could have been interesting, but their characterization is very stereotypical and predict...
  • Elaine
    So it's a fable, and I don't like fables much. I didn't like the head feints at dialect (mostly conveyed through a dropping of all articles) that sharply contrasted with the sophisticated interior voice of the narrator. I don't like characters who are archetypes and not people. I think a whole village calling our hero "Daddy" is creepy even if it is symbolic, or ye-olde-folkish, or both. I don't like 15 year olds written as if they were 8. I espe...
  • Vanessa
    Review to follow.
  • Isobel
    This book was named after the last Celtic kingdom, which even after it was no longer known as Elmet kept that place's reputation in to the seventeenth century, as 'a 'badlands', a sanctuary for refugees from the law.' Cathy and David's Daddy is one such refugee. Paid to fight for bets, he disappears for weeks at a time until the children's mother has left and their grandmother dies, when he takes them to live in an isolated copse, building a hous...
  • Anne
    Part lyrical homage to the old rural ways of life and part modern day fable, the story is narrated by the teenaged Daniel and set in the West Riding of Yorkshire, known as ELMET in medieval times. Faithful rendering of the Yorkshire dialect (from my perspective as a Yorkshire woman) lends authenticity, evoking the slightly archaic speech still used in rural parts.Kill or be killed is the prevailing local culture for those surviving on their wits ...
  • Jill
    This reminded me of Our Endless Numbered Days. The story is not the same exactly, but the general feeling and mood felt very similar to me. 3.5 stars.