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Vintage Past: Inventive tales of times gone by to tell the histories we think we know

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.


If you believe English fiction is jaded, you must read Adam Thorpe... Tender, precise, tragicomic and unsentimental.

Hilary Mantel, Independent on Sunday

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

John Banville

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

Washington Post

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

LA Times

A masterpiece...he has done a thing I would literally have given my right arm to do

Monty Don, Open Book


Irish Times

A masterpiece

Sunday Times

Magnificent and long unsung debut novel

Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    November 28, 2016

    Vintage Classics

    432 pages

    RRP $14.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
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    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Adam Thorpe

Missing Fay
The Standing Pool
Between Each Breath
Is This The Way You Said?
Birds With A Broken Wing
The Rules Of Perspective
No Telling
Nine Lessons From The Dark
Nineteen Twenty-One
Pieces Of Light
From The Neanderthal


Beauty in Thorns
The Handmaid's Tale
The French Perfumer
Life After Life
The Tea Gardens
To Kill A Mockingbird
An Uncommon Woman
Memoirs Of A Geisha
Tulip Fever
The Drover's Wife
A Gentleman in Moscow
Echo Burning
Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition
Best Laid Plans
The Mistress
The Heart's Invisible Furies