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Books Editorial

elmetbook.jpg Elmet

Fiona Mozley, JM Originals

The debut novel from Fiona Mozley was recently put on the Man Booker-longlist and it can be filed under the same “oop north-gothic” genre that Benjamin Myers has made his own with novels such as Turning Blue and The Gallows Pole. Elmet is set in Yorkshire and concerns John, a bare-knuckle boxer, who is trying to bring up his two children in a house he has built himself. A threat to John, and the working community at large, are the rapacious land and business owners. It’s set in the present although it strives for a timeless air (John and his family are more likely to hunt for their supper than grab anything from Tesco). Indeed the novel has a distinct fairytale quality – with its house near a copse at the top of a hill and the wolfish bailiffs – although this is less Brothers Grimm and more Grim Up North. Mozley manages to keep just the right side of blood and muck clichés, and she has a real ear for dialogue, but I feel she may have to wait a few years before she’s a serious Booker contender.