Release date - 23rd March 2017
Book length - 368 pages
Book Depository - www.bookdepository.com
Amazon UK - Larchfield
Amazon US - www.amazon.com
It's early summer when a young poet, Dora Fielding, moves to Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland and her hopes are first challenged. Newly married, pregnant, she's excited by the prospect of a life that combines family and creativity. She thinks she knows what being a person, a wife, a mother, means. She is soon shown that she is wrong. As the battle begins for her very sense of self, Dora comes to find the realities of small town life suffocating, and, eventually, terrifying; until she finds a way to escape reality altogether.
Another poet, she discovers, lived in Helensburgh once. Wystan H. Auden, brilliant and awkward at 24, with his first book of poetry published, should be embarking on success and society in London. Instead, in 1930, fleeing a broken engagement, he takes a teaching post at Larchfield School for boys where he is mocked for his Englishness and suspected - rightly - of homosexuality. Yet in this repressed limbo Wystan will fall in love for the first time, even as he fights his deepest fears.
The need for human connection compels these two vulnerable outsiders to find each other and make a reality of their own that will save them both. Echoing the depths of Possession, the elegance of The Stranger's Child and the ingenuity of Longbourn, Larchfield is a beautiful and haunting novel about heroism - the unusual bravery that allows unusual people to go on living; to transcend banality and suffering with the power of their imagination.
LARCHFIELD by Polly Clark is an utterly compelling, emotional read with a completely unique storyline. In this novel, we meet Dora, a poet who is recently married, now pregnant, and has recently moved to Helensburgh in Scotland. Hoping that this will be her new beginning where she will finally come into herself, it is not long before Dora realises her mistake. Struggling with her creativity and sense of self, and constantly at odds with her hostile neighbours who seem to influence everyone around them, Dora's positive future is now drowning in sorrow and fear. Discovering that the poet W.H Auden used to live and work in Larchfield, an old boys school in Helensburgh, during the 1930s, gives Dora a link to sanity and herself that she desperately clings to. At the same time, the author also tells us a fictionalised account of the life of Wystan H. Auden's life as a teacher at that time. Forced to conceal his homosexuality, Wystan throws himself into his poetry which is garnering much success, but when he falls in love, he is forced to confront his non-existent life that seems completely unfulfilled. Wanting to change the world around them, Wystan and Dora make a connection as they try to become their true selves in a world of their own making, but will they be brave enough to find their way back to their own realities.
LARCHFIELD by Polly Clark has a sense of foreboding and hostility throughout, and even though there are distressing and heartbreaking moments at times, the deeply evocative characters pull you in deeper and deeper into their world until you no longer want to leave. Interspersed with the beauty of poetry throughout, LARCHFIELD by Polly Clark is a stunning portrait of what life can become when you struggle to be who you really are, and undoubtedly the beauty and fragility of love. A hauntingly hypnotic read.
BOOK RATING - 📖📖📖📖📖 5
Polly Clark was born in Toronto and lives in Helensburgh on Scotland’s west coast, close to where W.H. Auden wrote The Orators. She is Literature Programme Producer for Cove Park, Scotland’s International Artist Residency Centre, and the author of three poetry collections. She won the MsLexia Prize for Larchfield, the Eric Gregory Award, and has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Larchfield will be published by Quercus under their riverrun imprint March 2017. Her pamphlet A Handbook for the Afterlife was shortlisted in the 2016 Michael Marks Awards and a volume of New and Selected Poems, Afterlife, is due in 2018. For more information:
Website - pollyclark.co.uk
Twitter - twitter.com/MsPollyClark
*I want to thank Elizabeth and Riverrun Publishing for the opportunity to review this beautiful debut.
Hi fellow bookworms. My name is Linda and I'm a reviewer & blogger from Ireland. Oh and also a wife and mother!
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