The stunning new novel from the prize-winning author of The Wake
SHORTLISTED FOR THE RSL ENCORE AWARD 2017
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What kind of man am I? I wonder what I think about that now that I have spent a year here, watching the layers peel off, stripping myself back . . .
Beast plunges you into the world of Edward Buckmaster, a man living alone on a west-country moor. What he has left behind we don’t quite know; what he faces is a battle with himself, the elements and with the animal he begins to see in the margins of his vision. A creature that will become an obsession . . .
To read Beast is a joy. The more of Kingsnorth’s intensity you survive, the more you can manage: in the end, your gaze has become as minutely focused as his hermit’s. You feel alive.
Like Robert Macfarlane re-written by Cormac McCarthy.
Beast continues Kingsnorth’s powerful exploration of the connection between people, place and prose . . . This is a novel bravely wrestling not only with the bestial, but with what it is that makes us human.
Kingsnorth’s style is a kind of ancient modernism, and he’s really the only writer doing anything like it . . . Writing that is both powerful and singular – Beckett doing Beowulf.
Eerily arresting . . . the book brings to mind such films as Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man and Michael Reeves's Witchfinder General . . . There is much potent writing, calm wisdom and quiet understanding in this book. Beast offers a message for the future as well as a robust challenge to the present.
Prose and gaze are inseparable, and Kingsnorth’s gaze is so intense it forces a similar intensity from the reader. The smallest shift of the light puts us on edge, on our mettle. Will something terrible happen? The moor, an empty church, an empty lane with something glimpsed swiftly crossing it – all are so menacing because they are so minutely themselves. There’s a kind of aching attentiveness necessary to read Beast, but the narrative easily brings it out in you, and the reward is obvious.
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