Booklist Reviews 2017 December #2
*Starred Review* A young man, dirty, hungry, and determined, is searching for his sister on the moors of Yorkshire, once the ancient kingdom of Elmet, now a land poisoned and impoverished. The page turns; the seasons roll back; and readers learn the story of how Daniel, 14, Cathy, 15, and their father, John, a giant of epic strength, abandoned town life and built a simple home deep in the woods. "Our world was about muscle," Daniel observes, and about the traditional skills needed to live off the land and off the grid. John hopes to keep his self-reliant children safe in this "strange, sylvan otherworld." But this man of steadfast integrity and "old-world morality," this bare-knuckle boxer and enforcer, has enemies, and the land is not theirs. Shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize, Mozley's preternaturally accomplished debut novel is a riveting and disquieting fable of a family reaching back to life's essentials and embracing nature's beauty, abundance, and challenges, yet remaining caught in the perpetual twist of human good and evil. In pristinely gorgeous and eviscerating prose, Mozley, who chimes with Hannah Tinti, Lydia Millet, and Daniel Woodrell, sets ablaze a suspenseful family tragedy stoked by social critique, escalated by men's violence against women, and darkly veined with elements of country noir. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.