The Last of the Greenwoods
By Clare Morrall
The intriguing story of two eccentric brothers and a troubled young postwoman - three outsiders whose pasts resurface in a captivating novel about guilt and forgiveness.
In a field outside Bromsgrove, two elderly brothers live in adjoining railway carriages. No one visits and they never speak to each other. Until the day Zohra Dasgupta, a young postwoman, delivers an extraordinary letter - from a woman claiming to be the sister they thought had been murdered fifty years earlier.
So begins an intriguing tale: is this woman an impostor? If she's not, what did happen all those years ago? And why are the brothers such recluses? Then there's Zohra. Once a bright, outgoing teenager, the only friend she will see from her schooldays is laidback Crispin, who has roped her in to the restoration of an old railway line on his father's land. For which, as it happens, they need some carriages . . .
With wry humour and a cast of characters as delightful as they are damaged, Clare Morrall tells an engrossing story of past misdeeds and present reckoning, which shows that for all the wrong turnings we might take, sometimes it is possible to retrace our steps.
Clare Morrall was born in Exeter and now lives in Birmingham, where she works as a music teacher. Her first novel, Astonishing Splashes of Colour, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2003. Since then she has published six novels: Natural Flights of the Human Mind, The Language of Others, The Man Who Disappeared, which was a TV Book Club Summer read in 2010, The Roundabout Man, After the Bombing and When the Floods Came, which was published by Sceptre in 2016.
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- Publication date:
08 Feb 2018
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Morrall's writing is tender and subtle: each character is finely drawn, with their flaws and tics as vivid as their courage and kindness. At no point is one drawn into a false sense of empathy; rather, we meander through the story, becoming increasingly involved. As the plot streams towards it triumphant conclusion, the strands unite into a story that is set in time but also timeless - about recognition, family and what it means to belong. — Violet Hudson, Literary Review
Elegantly written and has a fine sense of place — Observer
Ever since her 2003 Booker-shortlisted debut, Astonishing Splashes of Colour, Morrall has consistently turned out distinctive and sympathetic tales of quirky outsiders and underdogs. This is no exception. ... her compassion and heart-warming message - life is for the living - shine through — Daily Mail