‘‘I was born in the Black Country and have lived there most of my life. I’ve
always felt that it, and the texture of its part-industrial, part-rural landscape
provokes a unique sensation of place, and I try to emulate that in my writing.
In God’s Country, the Black Country doesn’t just operate as background
scenery, but as a resonant, ever-present figure, and my characters have to
deal with that’ – KERRY HADLEY-PRYCE
Kerry Hadley-Pryce has become synonymous with menacing fiction from the Black Country. In this delicious tale a funeral provides the impetus for a
claustrophobic narrative packed with threat and paranoia.
Guy Flood returns to the Black Country with his girlfriend, Alison, to attend his
identical twin brother’s funeral. The reasons he left, and the secrets he left
behind, slowly become clear. A chilling dark fiction, dominated by unknown
and all-seeing narrator.
KERRY HADLEY-PRYCE was born in the Black Country. She worked
nights in a Wolverhampton petrol station before becoming a secondary
school teacher. She wrote her first novel, The Black Country, whilst
studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing
School. She is currently a PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan
University, researching Psychogeography and Black Country Writing.
God’s Country is her third novel She lives in Stourbridge and tweets
My thoughts: this is a strange and woozy novel, written in the second person, making it hard to fully understand the characters and relate to them, at a remove. Having returned to his family’s farm for his twin brother’s funeral, Guy is truculent and remote. His girlfriend Alison isn’t sure what to expect as Guy doesn’t speak about where he comes from, he’s changed his accent, and she’s surprised at how he reacts to his relatives.
There’s secrets and old resentments boiling away as the family gather, Guy’s father is gruff, bordering on hostile and his sister seems to be mentally elsewhere. Alison feels awkward and unwelcome as father and son circle one another.
She’s trying to find out why Guy left, why his relationships turned so sour but he’s shutting her out, and in the remote farm, there’s little relief to be had. Soon it all comes to the surface, none of it pretty.
Written in the distinctive Black Country dialect, Alison is an outsider who can’t always understand what’s being said, who doesn’t understand the ripples between the family, much like the reader, she’s kept at bay. An unsettling and unusual read.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.