Ross Raisin - God’s Own Country (4 stars)

God’s Own Country



The view from Ross Raisin’s pedestal must be a particularly terrifying one, especially after verbal leg-ups from the likes of JM Coetzee and Colm Toibin. Happily, ‘one of the most eagerly awaited literary debuts of 2008’ does not disappoint. It certainly helps that the anti-hero of the piece is such a fascinating, isolated and well-drawn malevolent. A self-fulfilling prophecy, Sam Marsdyke’s behaviour is justified by the ‘blatherskites’’ terrible opinion of him, following accusations of attempted rape at school; there, he is merely living up to expectations.

In the silent, unloving world he inhabits on the Yorkshire Moors, it is Marsdyke’s inner dialogue and powerfully imagined engagement with everything he meets which yield the richest seams of the novel. Chilling, heart-warming and disturbing, Marsdyke’s fantasy world teamed with Raisin’s linguistic virtuosity makes for an admirable read, and stir curiosity as to where the author’s voice will take us next.

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