'Exceptional' Jonathan Coe. 'Superb' John Banville. 'Lovely' John Fowles
At the heart of this novel lies the fictional village of Ulverton. It is the fixed point in a book that spans three hundred years. Different voices tell the story of Ulverton: one of Cromwell's soldiers staggers home to find his wife remarried and promptly disappears, an eighteenth century farmer carries on an affair with a maid under his wife's nose, a mother writes letters to her imprisoned son, a 1980s real estate company discover a soldier's skeleton, dated to the time of Cromell...
Told through diaries, sermons, letters, drunken pub conversations and film scripts this is a masterful novel that reconstructs the unrecorded history of England.
'Sometimes you forget that it is a novel, and believe for a moment that you are really hearing the voice of the dead' Hilary Mantel
“We arent used to the many deep matters Thorpe touches on, not to such a thorough grasp of the complex nature of our rural past, and through it, of all existence itself... Suddenly English lives again”
John Fowles, Guardian
“These stories sing like psalms, robust and vibrant - a poet's novel and a celebration that no social historian would dare attempt”
“A superb and moving meditation on history, fate and the nature of time, Ulverton is at once a traditional fiction and a wholly successful testing of the limits of literary art”
“Spanning three centuries and encompassing a startling variety of lives, this debut novel from poet Adam Thorpe is nothing less than a bravura performance... With Ulverton, Thorpe has woven his own enticing 'secret web'. This is no mere promising first novel, but a major work, heralding a brillant new voice in British fiction”
“Beneath the variety of Ulverton's episodes is the current that links them, and that makes this one of the great British fictional works of our time. Each voice gives us a richly accomplished story; as one voice follows another, we are given the waxing and waning of history, of the land, and of the ways in which society regards itself and the world it disposes of”
“A masterpiece...he has done a thing I would literally have given my right arm to do”
Monty Don, Open Book
“If you believe English fiction is jaded, you must read Adam Thorpe... Tender, precise, tragicomic and unsentimental.”
Hilary Mantel, Independent on Sunday