At Hawthorn Time

At Hawthorn Time by Melissa HarrisonShortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year award, longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and longlisted for the Encore Award

“So much unforced life is here that Harrison is readily comparable with Elizabeth Taylor and Penelope Lively; but she has a distinction all her own — and her growing audience must hope to live long enough to read everything she writes” – The Spectator

“Wondrous… stunning” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Harrison’s imagination is wonderfully strange, her writing beautifully assured and controlled. At Hawthorn Time is social satire, but also a political protest against the intensive and increasing privatisation of the countryside, and a love letter to the power of nature” – The Times

“Graceful, measured and compelling prose… Harrison writes with great depth and control… Her level gaze, crisp prose and sharp insight make her a fresh and valuable voice in both fiction and nature writing” – The Guardian

“A bracing talent in the tradition of Thomas Hardy, J L Carr and Henry Williamson… her prose is arresting” – The Telegraph (also chosen as a Best Book of the Year for 2015)

“Her skill is such that she has produced a vigorous and affecting hybrid… If Robert Macfarlane and Helen Macdonald were to co-author a book with John Burnside and Adam Foulds, it might end up something like At Hawthorn Time” – The FT (also chosen as a Summer Read for 2015)

“[A] pensive, beautifully written novel of nature and our vexed place in it” – The Sydney Morning Herald / The Age

Four-thirty on a May morning: the black fading to blue, dawn gathering somewhere below the treeline in the East. A long, straight road runs between sleeping fields to the little village of Lodeshill, and on it two cars lie wrecked and ravished, violence gathered about them in the silent air. One wheel, upturned, still spins.

Howard and Kitty have recently moved to Lodeshill after a life spent in London; now, their marriage is wordlessly falling apart. Custom car enthusiast Jamie has lived in the village for all nineteen years of his life and dreams of leaving it behind, while Jack, a vagrant farm-worker and mystic in flight from a bail hostel, arrives in the village on foot one spring morning, bringing change. All four of them are struggling to find a life in the modern countryside; all are trying to find ways to belong.

Building to an extraordinary climax over the course of one spring month, At Hawthorn Time is both a clear-eyed picture of rural Britain, and a heartbreaking exploration of love, land and loss. It is out now, published by Bloomsbury, and has earned the admiration of A.S.Byatt, Helen Macdonald, author of the bestselling H Is For Hawk, and the award-winning novelist Evie Wyld, who called it “intensely moving… careful, precise, and hypnotically beautiful.”

A limited-edition 10″ record is also available, featuring two pieces of music produced in response to the book and with an individually silk-screened and stitched sleeve by artist Lucie Murtagh.

At Hawthorn Time by Melissa Harrison

The Green Web Foundation