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A novel about the First World War that is as mesmerising as it is unusual, a triumphant new work by one of the most acclaimed writers of the 90s.
Andrew Cowan was born in Corby and educated at the University of East Anglia. Pig, his first novel, won The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, a Betty Trask Award, the Ruth Hadden Memorial Prize, the Author`s Club First Novel Award and a Scottish Council Book Award. He is also the author of the writing guidebook The Art of Writing and three other novels: Common Ground, Crustaceans and What I Know. He is the Director of the Creative Writing programme at UEA.
His voices ring so true they break your heart. This novel has the feel of an elegiac poem and is an absolute delight to read. * We Love This Book * Packed with beautiful period details . . . His style is creative but the creativity serves the story and there's never the feeling, as can be the case, of the style getting in the way of the lives of these people. The result is a haunting, and often moving, record of life in a market town during the Great War. * Bookbag * Andrew Cowan's fifth novel takes a loud subject - the First World War; its casualties and the disastrous effect it has on an English town - and quietens it with detail . . . it is heartening to see a writer with several books behind him take a risk. * Lesley McDowell, Glasgow Herald * Cowan's serious-minded project suggests, intriguingly, an un-spoken truth - that the lack of all those young soldiers on the home front meant a calmer, saner society . . . Yet this is no romanticised history - Cowan never lets us forget the earthy truths of life * Jonathan Barnes, Literary Review * A wonderful and moving book, wholly original in its treatment of the war's bleak surrealism. I was completely transported. It's sensuous and funny and somehow manages never to be moralising. * Tessa Hadley * Provincial realism it may be; to suggest it's nothing special is too modest by half. * Guardian * Distinguished by its remarkable close focus on life in Britain and the families back home. From multiple viewpoints, Cowan - a highly talented but still under-recognised novelist - follows working-class teenager Walter, troubled officer Montague, and the girl who attracts them both, beautiful Gertie, the daughter of their local chemist-cum-vet-cum-abortionist. Both Montague and Gertie's father have a keen amateur interest in "eugenical science", which held out a crazed initial hope that the war would be good for the fitness of the species . . . memorable for its time-travelling density of period evocation * Phil Baker, The Sunday Times * A brilliant novel, original, powerfully written, and very moving * John Boyne *