BLOG POST: When authors recommend other authors
Blog note: Author Kate Worsley has kindly provided Red Lion Books with a list of books that inspired her latest novel ‘Foxash‘, from ‘Fenwomen‘, a feminist Akenfield, to ‘Love on the Dole”s 1930s Salford. Foxash is published on 27th April and will be launched in Manningtree that evening.
Kate’s recommended reading list
Adrian Bell’s Corduroy 1930 trilogy (Faber and Faber, 2011): the arch example of urban middle-class longing for the countryside: a full-throated threnody for vanishing rural ways. (blog note: this title is no longer available but we suggest Men & The Fields as an alternative)
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: words by James Agee, photographs by Walter Agee (Penguin Classics, 2006): this extraordinary and unsparing 1936 record of sharecropper life in the US South was one of the most influential books of the 20th century.
Love on the Dole – Walter Greenwood (Vintage Classics, 1993): his first novel, this utterly authentic and angry 1933 portrayal of depression-era working-class life in Salford became an instant classic.
Fenwomen by Mary Chamberlain, photographs by Justin Partyka (Full Circle Editions Ltd, 2011): ‘a feminist Akenfield’. Virago’s first non-fiction publication, this 1975 portrait of women in a fenland village is an essential countervoice to Ronald Blythe’s ‘Akenfield’ and George Ewart-Evans ‘Ask the Fellows Who Cut the Hay’.
The Thirties, an intimate history Juliet Gardner (HarperPress 2011): an exhilaratingly panoramic survey of a myriad contemporary sources.
Kate Worsley, MARCH, 2023
Worn out by poverty, Lettie Radley and her miner husband Tommy grasp at the offer of their very own smallholding – part of a Government scheme to put the unemployed back to work on the land. When she comes down to Essex to join him, it’s not Tommy who greets her, but their new neighbours. Overbearing and unkempt, Jean and Adam Dell are everything that the smart, spirited, aspirational Lettie can’t abide. As Lettie settles in, she finds an unexpected joy in the rhythms of life on the smallholding.
She’s hopeful that her past, and the terrible secret Tommy has come to Foxash to escape, are far behind them. But the Dells have their own secrets. And as the seasons change, and a man comes knocking at the gate, the scene is set for a terrible reckoning.
Combining a gothic sensibility with a visceral, unsettling sense of place, Foxash is a deeply original novel of quiet and powerful menace, of the real hardships of rural life, and the myths and folklore that seep into ordinary lives – with surprising consequences.
A wonderfully atmospheric and deeply unsettling novel, full of images so vivid they seem to leap off the page. Worsley’s fiction is something to savour
A rich, wonderfully uneasy pleasure. Exquisitely written and deeply original, with secrets that are tightly layered, always surprising and teased out with impressive control
Kate Worsley has a wonderfully fertile imagination. She writes for the senses: the touch of soil; the taste of a home remedy; the whiff of decay. Her wily prose curls around the story she is telling, like a creeper
Beguiling, and written with a piercing eye for style. It burrows under the surface of the rural idyll, exposing a shadowy hinterland