By Fiona Melrose
A heartbreaking story about a farming family, set between Suffolk and Zambia. Midwinter is a story of grief, forgiveness and family love. Longlisted for the Baileys Prize for Fiction 2017
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017
'Finely judged writing like this comes from a place of instinct, and it marks Melrose out as someone to watch . . . Midwinter is a great success' Melissa Harrison, Guardian
Father and Son, Landyn and Vale Midwinter, are Suffolk farmers, living together on land their family has worked for generations. But they are haunted there by a past they have long refused to confront: the death of Cecelia, beloved wife and mother, when Vale was just a child. Both men have carried her loss, unspoken.
With the onset of a mauling winter, something between them snaps.
While Vale makes increasingly desperate decisions, Landyn retreats, finding solace in the land, his animals - and a vixen who haunts the farm and seems to bring with her both comfort and protection.
Tender and lyrical, alive to language and nature, Midwinter is a novel about guilt, blame, lost opportunities and, ultimately, it is a story about love and the lengths we will go to find our way home.
Longlisted for the New Angle Prize 2017
'Melrose elegantly weaves narratives detailing the men's internal tumult with lush descriptions of their natural surroundings . . . A moving story about the cruelty of chance, modern masculinity and the transformative power of the bonds between men' Financial Times
'I have rarely read a narrative voice as distinctive as Landyn's, and the loving depiction of regional English working-class masculinity is unusual and timely . . . This is certainly not a light-hearted book, but it offers the true consolation of some very good writing' Sarah Moss, TLS
'A penetrating study of grief and guilt' Daily Mail
Fiona Melrose was born in Johannesburg but has spent the majority of her adult life in the UK, first in London and then in East Anglia. She moved to Suffolk to concentrate on her writing and it is there that Midwinter was conceived. Previously Fiona has worked in academia, NGO's, public affairs and as an emerging markets analyst. She continues to keep a foot in both continents and is currently spending the majority of her time back in South Africa where she is completing her second novel.
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- Publication date:
02 Nov 2016
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The opening scenes of Fiona Melrose's debut, Midwinter, could hardly be more gripping; but the novel she hangs on the hook of that action-packed beginning is something quieter, broader, and more considered than it initially gives you reason to expect . . . Finely judged writing like this comes from a place of instinct, and it marks Melrose out as someone to watch . . . Midwinter is a great success. — The Guardian, Book of the Day
Melrose elegantly weaves narratives detailing the men's internal tumult with lush descriptions of their natural surroundings . . . A moving story about the cruelty of chance, modern masculinity and the transformative power of the bonds between men. — Financial Times
I have rarely read a narrative voice as distinctive as Landyn's, and the loving depiction of regional English working-class masculinity is unusual and timely . . . This is certainly not a light-hearted book, but it offers the true consolation of some very good writing — Sarah Moss, TLS
A fabulously frosty tale of the bleak Suffolk countryside . . with gorgeously understated prose and a keen eye for nature. It deserves to be read in front of a fire with the wind roaring outside. — Alex Preston, Observer
Heartbreaking . . . We were immediately gripped by this story of grief, guilt and love - cosy up by the fireplace with a cup of tea and lose yourself into Fiona's powerful debut novel. — Hello magazine
The descriptions of the natural world, both in Suffolk and Zambia, are impressive, but it's the portrayal of human despair that hits hardest . . . The novel is a penetrating study of grief and guilt — Daily Mail
The emotions between the pair are a hot, raw burn of guilt, recrimination and misplaced affection . . . It's a beautifully perceptive story that will stay with you. — Express
In this quietly stunning debut the author Fiona Melrose has created a moving and astutely drawn playing out of a family crisis. . . . Fiona has that rarest gift of breathing life into her characters, as well as the worlds in which they live. — Essie Fox, author of Elijah's Mermaid
A breathtaking debut novel — Readers Digest
Melrose balances the dark topics of her debut with a dash of optimism. — Daily Record
Visceral, beautiful and heartwrenching — Morgan McCarthy, author of The House of Birds
A beautifully perceptive debut — Psychologies magazine
It's difficult to write about grief in such a way that it doesn't weigh down the words but with her debut novel, Fiona Melrose has tackled the topic with a vitality that draws you in. A beautiful and engaging read. — Image magazine