A man, who lives in an isolated community with his son and daughter, uses bare-fist fighting as his currency.
◉ “I was about three-quarters of the way through Elmet when I thought to myself, ‘there have only been about two things happen in this book’ but somehow it was still a compelling read. It’s very slow moving and the sense of impending doom that is flagged right from the beginning becomes almost unbearable.
“I enjoyed how the simplicity of the character’s existence was conveyed, and it was heartbreaking to see how this simplicity also contributed to their downfall. I read a review (thanks Stella from Volume) that called Elmet ‘rural noir’ and that is a perfect description.
“Previous Man Booker shortlister this book reminded me most of: Lila by Marilynne Robinson (ok yes this was actually a longlister…)” – Suzy
◉ “Elmet is a very primal book; everything is back to basics, back to the land. A man and his children live in a rural community in a house he has built himself on land he does not own. He fights bare-knuckled to make money and to please his landlord and employer. Potatoes are taken to the pot from the land, blood drips from fighting wounds back into the dirt, the heat curls up from the earth.
“This moodiness extends to the drip-feed of information too. It’s a simple storyline, without complex subtext, yet there was always enough to keep me turning the pages.
“I wondered if the father, with his freakish bulk and strength was representative of someone in history, or some kind of past. I guess this book’s themes are universal: the life-force of the land, love and protection, the superhuman.
“All-in-all, I enjoyed the ride that was Elmet, but tbh, I wasn’t blown away by it.” – Rachel