Saturday, 20 August 2011
God's Own Country by Ross Raisin
The protagonist in God’s Own Country, Sam Marsdyke, is what I would describe as a ‘wrong ‘un’. Sam lives with his parents on a Yorkshire farm where he is quite the expert in most aspects of farm life, a life which he seems to genuinely enjoy. It very quickly becomes apparent however that his relations with other human beings give major cause for concern as they all seem doomed and often leave Sam ostracised.
At times the reader may feel for Sam despite him being so unlikeable, you might understand his frustration at his awful neighbours and the Londoners buying up rural houses in the community as second homes. His observations about these matters along with his narrations about farming life in general are interesting, engaging, at times gritty and often quite funny. But then Sam exposes himself and ruins it all by doing things you really would rather he didn’t.
Gods Own Country is a very polished novel and overall it’s a very entertaining read with a wonderful sense of place. The narration and the overall atmosphere loses some of its appeal when the action moves from the farm to nearby Whitby towards the end of the novel but this is more of a quibble than anything. A lot of comparisons have been made to The Wasp Factory and others of that ilk and I would say that this was a fair comparison and it was what certainly came to my mind when reading it.
The novel says far more for the promise of its author though as Raisin has not hit his mark here, you end up with the overall impression he is capable of so much more. Given that this is his first novel that might be an unfair thing for me to say, but I am sure when Raisin eventually does get there we will all be in for something special.
Just for the hell of it here is a picture of the very same Yorkshire Moors somewhere near Whitby we took last year.
Posted by Jess