Swift’s Waterland soaks into McEwan’s Cement Garden in this shocking and intense debut.
Incest, madness & romance in the peat. Can an incestuous relationship ever be a happy one?
Steeped in an unearthly and unsettling fenland landscape, relationships like that between Victor and his teen sister tend to mist up the perspectives of the ‘normal’.
A decade on, Victor arrives in Paris to write a book about Kerouac. ‘All he possessed was his past, a writer’s greatest treasure. While not wanting to repudiate it, he aspired to the grandeur of loss.’ And it is there, in the security and oppressiveness of his childhood, in the lonely fens of Groningen, that Victor’s dark treasure lies – an oppresiveness symbolized by the alcoholism of his father – and of his incestuous love for his younger sister Lisa.
From the no-man’s-land between sea and soil in north-east Holland comes an outstanding book from an author who promises to be one of the first European literary stars of the new century. Steamy, sensuous, atmospheric and ripe with longing and loneliness.
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‘An astonishing first novel. Here, out of the blue, we have a young man who proves to be a full blown writer from his first novel. The book has great style, tight structure and a haunting narrative. It’s all there, complete full grown craftmanship… a born writer who will be one of the most important authors of his generation.’
marcel moring, author of In Babylon
Teenagers Lisa and Victor are closer than a brother and sister have any right to be. So close that they smother and suffocate one another, yanking and wrestling their lives and emotions into a tangled knot. In the flat, damp wooded fen that is their homeland, while their sarcastic father and impotent mother recede from influence, Lisa and Victor grow into loud, aggressive, foul-mouthed loners who are able to find peace and comfort only when alone together – at school, at home, in bed…
Fearful of and drawn to exposure all at once, the intensity of their incestuous relationship – and of their sensitivities and frustrations – requires a dramatic outcome. Whisky-fuelled, taboo-blind and sharp-tongued, 'The Happy Hunting Grounds' is a long day's journey into night, an unnervingly compelling tale from the marshy great plains of the northern Netherlands.
''The Happy Hunting Grounds' is constructed in the form of a symphony, with four distinct movements, each different in style and tempo. It is dense, learned, oblique and allusive (though not intimidatingly so), quoting generously form popular songs and literary works, form Vladimir Nabokov to Barbara Cartland. Tepper binds his material together with admirable artistry. He is a writer of real talent.'
ANDREW BISWELL'Daily Telegraph'
'One of my favourite novels of the last decade. It has great style, tight structure and a haunting narrative. Your complete surrender to it never falters. I think it has something to do with Tepper never being too romantic, his great sense of irony, his crafty, down-to-earth use of emotions.'
MARCEL MORING author of 'In Babylon'
'A dark, disturbing debut novel, hard to put down. Haunting and unsettling, it marks Tepper as a talent to watch.'
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Book Description Harper UK, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0006551467
Book Description Harper UK, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 6551467