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At Hawthorn Time (2015)

por Melissa Harrison

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1015204,104 (3.84)16
It is dawn on a May morning. On a long straight Roman road between two sleeping fields a car slows as it arrives at the scene of an accident. Howard and Kitty have been married for thirty years and now sleep in different rooms. They do not discuss it. It was always Kitty's dream to move from their gobby corner of north London into the countryside, and when the kids were gone they moved to Lodeshill. Howard often wonders if anyone who lives in this invisible village has a reason to be there. Jack was once a rural rebel, a protestor who only ever wanted the freedom to walk alone in his own country. Having finished another stint in prison for trespassing, he sets off once more, walking north with his old battered backpack. Jamie is a nineteen-year-old Lodeshill boy who works in distribution centre and has a Saturday job at the bakery. He spent his childhood exploring the land with his granddad and playing with Alex who lived in the farmhouse next-door. As the lives of these people coalesce we realize that mysterious layers of history are not only buried within them, but also locked into the landscape. A captivating novel of immense clarity, At Hawthorn Time is about identity, consumerism, changing boundaries and our own long, straight path into the unknown.… (más)

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Mostrando 5 de 5
It starts with a bang. In a lane outside the village of Lodeshill there has been a car crash. As the violence of this act is fading, and the wheels are still spinning, the debris from a glove-box is scattered on the tarmac and there is the faint sound of sirens in the distance.

Lodeshill is a busy rural village populated by those still working on the land, and those who have sought out its peace. There is Jamie, a teenager whose future is in a dead end job in a huge distribution centre, Howard and Kitty, who have left the bright lights of London for tranquillity. Jack is also recently from London, wandering the lanes picking up casual work on farms, as and when he can.

These characters are seeking different things. As well as work, Jack is looking for shelter, the fields and copses are his bed for the night. He treads lightly on the countryside, as this is his home. Howard and Kitty are still married, just, and are now sleeping in separate bedrooms. They have secrets kept long from each other, Howard has returned to a drinking habit and Kitty has a diagnosis that only her fellow artist knows about. Jamie loves where he lives, but he cannot see much beyond his job, so he busies himself customising his car. These four people who are all living very different lives, slowly start to overlap as the story builds to the tragic accident.

This is a hauntingly and beautifully written book. It is rooted deep in the natural world and the slow movement of the seasons. The detail is magnificent too; you sense the breaking of the buds, the heady aroma of the mayflowers on the verges, the aeronautics of bats at dusk and wheeling of birds seeking sustenance. The way that Harrison has intermingled these four lives as they orbit the village is quite something. But it is infused with a melancholy too, a farm is sold after a tragedy , an old man goes missing, but all these events are the precursor to the accident that happens in the prologue. There is rarely a word out of place here as well, making it effortless to read. I liked too the detail of natural events happening at that moment at the beginning of each chapter, it adds a nice sense of time to the story, and that whatever happens in her characters lives, there is that constant metronome of nature ticking away... ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
With her trademark elegant, lyrical prose Melissa Harrison has written a moving, thought-provoking story, using superbly drawn characters to explore many aspects of change. Change in the relationships and personal development of her multi-dimensional characters, changes brought about in agricultural practices by modern technology and changes to old traditions and folklore in small rural villages, brought about by an influx of "incomers" who have no ties to the countryside, no understanding of the interdependence of man and the natural world, and therefore no idea of the unintended consequences of certain interventions. Her evocative descriptions of the flora and fauna were a delight to anyone who enjoys observing the seasonal changes in the countryside. The story is poignantly moving, often sad in its reflections but it also carries a message of optimism ... I found it a delightful read. ( )
  linda.a. | Dec 23, 2019 |
Unconvinced. Who was Jack? Real or Puck? ( )
  adrianburke | Mar 10, 2019 |
Jack walks the back roads of England, picking up day jobs on farms when he can. He has spent most of his life outdoors and although completely harmless, his unconventional life is seen by a threat by most people. Having recently done a spell in prison for apparent trespassing, he's determined never to be confined again. Jaimie is a young man who still lives with his parents in the small village of Lodeshill, where he works indoors in windowless warehouses. He appreciates his deep roots to the land and the people of the area, but is aware of the changes going on around him. Kitty and Howard have recently retired-- their two adult children are off on their own and so they left their life in suburban London to follow Kitty's dream of living in an English village. She develops as a painter and makes friends in the village, while Howard makes a half-hearted effort to satisfied -- they don't agree on much. The novel opens with a car crash and then goes back over the month of May leading up to the accident, jumping between the characters and their backstories.

I liked this a lot. It had a familiarity to it that was comfortable, but was also strongly different from anything I'd read before. The main difference from other books is how the author brought in nature elements to everyday scenes. I loved these. She also brought in historical elements and how people living in Europe today are treading paths historical and ancient. I live in a corner of the world where the oldest buildings are maybe 130 yrs old, so I delight in this aspect when I visit Europe, and I like how Harrison gave nods to the ever-changing uses for the land. There's a lot going on here, and I'd like to read it again because I'm sure I missed some interesting connections.

At Hawthorn Time was nominated for the Orange/Bailey's/Women's prize and the Costa award. This is yet another excellent recommendation from Simon at Savidge Reads.

Why I Read This Now: Because it was hawthorn time (May, here in Vancouver and in England in the story).

Recommened for: people who like books with strong nature elements will love this, but there's a lot going on if that's not your thing. If you need a straight forward linear storyline, this won't be for you. ( )
1 vota Nickelini | Jun 4, 2018 |
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Review will be added later.
  crisana | Jun 2, 2016 |
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It is dawn on a May morning. On a long straight Roman road between two sleeping fields a car slows as it arrives at the scene of an accident. Howard and Kitty have been married for thirty years and now sleep in different rooms. They do not discuss it. It was always Kitty's dream to move from their gobby corner of north London into the countryside, and when the kids were gone they moved to Lodeshill. Howard often wonders if anyone who lives in this invisible village has a reason to be there. Jack was once a rural rebel, a protestor who only ever wanted the freedom to walk alone in his own country. Having finished another stint in prison for trespassing, he sets off once more, walking north with his old battered backpack. Jamie is a nineteen-year-old Lodeshill boy who works in distribution centre and has a Saturday job at the bakery. He spent his childhood exploring the land with his granddad and playing with Alex who lived in the farmhouse next-door. As the lives of these people coalesce we realize that mysterious layers of history are not only buried within them, but also locked into the landscape. A captivating novel of immense clarity, At Hawthorn Time is about identity, consumerism, changing boundaries and our own long, straight path into the unknown.

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