Back to top

Book Review: Unsettled Ground by Clare Fuller

Unsettled Ground

Claire Fuller's Costa Novel Award Winner Hits the Spot

Set in rural Wiltshire, Unsettled Ground is the story of twins, Jeanie and Julius who at 51 struggle to cope when their mother dies suddenly. With Dot, they had lived the same way for decades, never quite leaving home – Jeanie's fragile health and Julius’s help as a breadwinner the obvious reasons to stay.

The family live in a rundown cottage, making a living from small-scale market gardening with very few mod-cons. Julius picks up work where he can, but a traumatic childhood accident has left him unable to travel far by car. Music fills their lives, the three played old folk songs together in a house that contains little connection to the outside world – only Julius has a mobile phone, frequently out of charge, to help him find work.

Dot’s death leaves the twins in dire straits with hardly a penny and arrears of rent, accumulated bills and a funeral to pay for. With little education or understanding of how the world works, they are easy victims for those who want to take advantage. Meanwhile secrets about their mother simmer in the background.

The novel is told from the alternating perspective of Jeanie, who is desperate to hold onto their cottage and lifestyle, and Julius who is eager to get away. In the background nature is a dominant force, sometimes bountiful, at others destructive.

I found the novel quickly pulled me in from the beginning, the story gaining traction as the twins deal with more and more issues, secrets and curve balls. Fuller has created two unusual but empathic characters who might make you rethink a hankering for the simple life. Can life ever be simple in the twenty-first century? This is a brilliant book and well deserving of its Women’s Prize for fiction nomination and recent win of the Costa Fiction Award.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: Unsettled Ground

9 February 2022

Back to Blog

Hastings

Monday 10.00am - 5.30pm
Tuesday 9.00am - 7.00pm
Wednesday 9.00am - 5.30pm
Thursday 9.00am - 7.00pm
Friday 9.00am - 5.30pm
Saturday 10.00am - 4.00pm
Sunday 1.00pm - 4.00pm

Havelock North

Monday 10.00am - 5.30pm
Tuesday 9.00am - 5.30pm
Wednesday 9.00am - 5.30pm
Thursday 9.00am - 5.30pm
Friday 9.00am - 5.30pm
Saturday 10.00am - 4.00pm
Sunday CLOSED

Flaxmere

Monday 10.00am - 5.30pm
Tuesday 9.00am - 5.30pm
Wednesday 9.00am - 5.30pm
Thursday 9.00am - 5.30pm
Friday 9.00am - 5.30pm
Saturday 10.00am - 4.00pm
Sunday CLOSED

Hastings District Council - Copyright © 2022 Hastings District Council

Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the Hastings District Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Hastings District Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Hastings District Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© Hastings District Council - https://www.hastingslibraries.co.nz/ / +64 6 871 5000 / libraries@hdc.govt.nz