Secrets are dangerous. They can come back to bite.
In the summer of 1875, two travellers walk south across the Lincolnshire Wolds to a village riven with dark secrets.
When Norman Tanner kills his workmate on a cold February morning a century later, he thinks he’s got away with murder. But Norman doesn’t know about the workmate’s girlfriend, or the child that will come back to haunt him; and how he is caught up in a story that stretches back to that Victorian summer. For some in the village of Southby and its nearby grand estate, man is master of his fate, and the world is full of meaning; for others there is nothing but grass.
“Gripping, absorbing and brilliantly done. As you read you are captured by a flow of people and emotions. Each era comes to life.”
William Leith, Evening Standard
“An enticing amalgam of Downtown Abbey and Wuthering Heights… Truly memorable…immensely poignant…deeply sensitive.”
Melissa Katsoulis, The Times
“A haunting debut... Ever since John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman and especially AS Byatt’s Possession, there has been a vogue for novels that alternate between the Victorian age and our own. Nothing But Grass is a cracking addition to this genre.”
David Grylls, Sunday Times
“Thrilling... combines the social engagement of David Peace with Robert Macfarlane's talent for describing the countryside in crisp, fresh language. From ghosts of the Civil War to the meaning of the miners’ strike, this is a beguiling tale about a rural England where questions of power and identity are as pertinent now as they ever were.”
Max Liu, Independent
“Cohu skilfully builds a narrative that reveals the reverberations of the Victorian past - and an enduring mystery - upon the present. He subtly details his characters' feelings, and though the consequences are tragic, they prove fertile material for fine fiction.”
Anita Sethi, Mail on Sunday
“Cohu is a writer with a profound understanding of human frailty, and one of the most appealing things about Nothing But Grass is the dignity it grants its characters... There is real compassion in the way the book traces the effects of time on people’s hopes and dreams. These are, for the most part, ordinary working folk, the kind whose lives are rarely taken seriously by literature or in our cultural conversation; Cohu’s book is a powerful and necessary antidote to the tired elitism of so many metropolitan literary novels... Cohu’s insightful, moving depictions of both people and place illuminate what is an accomplished and memorable rural novel”
Melissa Harrison, Guardian
“Beautifully written and original”
AS Byatt, Observer
“Lovely and unusual”
Joanna Kavenna, Oldie
“Cohu’s strong characterisation and sure-footed feel for his territory endow Nothing but Grass with the sense of social, psychological and geographical strata being excavated.”
Alastair Mabbot, Herald