The Borrowed Hills: A Novel (Hardcover)

The Borrowed Hills: A Novel By Scott Preston Cover Image

The Borrowed Hills: A Novel (Hardcover)


On Our Shelves Now at:
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
2 on hand, as of Jul 12 9:21am
A stunning debut novel set in the rugged, rural landscape of northwest England where two sheep farmers lose their flocks and decide to reverse their fortunes by stealing sheep from a rich farm in the south—for fans of Annie Proulx and Cormac McCarthy.

In early 2001, a lethal disease breaks out on the hill farms of northern England, emptying the valleys of sheep and filling the skies with smoke as they burn the carcasses. Two neighboring shepherds lose everything and set their sights on a wealthy farm in the south with its flock of prizewinning animals. So begins the dark tale of Steve Elliman and William Herne.

As their sheep rustling leads to more and more difficult decisions, the struggles of the land are never far away. Steve’s only distraction is his growing fascination with William’s enigmatic and independent wife, Helen. When their mountain home comes under the sway of a lawless outsider, Colin Tinley, it is left to Steve to save himself and Helen in a savage conflict that threatens the ancient ways of the Lakeland fells.

Told in the hardscrabble voice of a forgotten England, Scott Preston creates an uncompromising vision of farmers lost in brutal devotion to their flocks, the aching love affairs that men and women use to sustain themselves, and the painful consequences of a breathtaking heist gone bad. The Borrowed Hills is a thrilling adventure that reimagines the American Western for Britain’s moors and mountains where survival is in the blood.
Scott Preston is from Windermere in the English Lake District. He studied philosophy at the University of Sheffield before working as a copywriter. He is a graduate of the University of Manchester’s creative writing program and received a PhD in prose fiction from King’s College London. The Borrowed Hills is his first novel.
Product Details ISBN: 9781668050675
ISBN-10: 1668050676
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English
"Viscerally vivid . . . a sucker-punch of a novel, edged with knife-sharp black humour and shot through with moments of startling beauty . . . half Tarantino and half pitch-black northern realism." —Guardian (UK)

"A spiky debut . . . precisely focused with flavour, intensity, and oodles of character." —The Times (UK)

"Preston’s debut arrives like a punch to the gut . . . a Wild West–type tale of rustling and villainy, blood and belonging, transposed to the bleakly beautiful fells and sheep flocks of northern England. . . . This is an elemental tale shaded in tones of heroism, machismo, moral intensity, and mythmaking. It’s also a love song to the landscape . . . Gritty, gripping, and fearlessly committed." Kirkus (starred review)

“[A] blistering debut . . . Preston’s brilliant tonal range extends from epic heroism, as the men scramble after sheep on shale knee-deep in muck, to uncompromising realism. . . . This dark and inspired tale pulses with life.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Preston’s debut is everything it sets out to be: picturesque but brutal and uncompromising . . . this steely tale will have a lasting effect on the reader." —Booklist

"The Borrowed Hills shows us the Lake District from the inside, from the viewpoint of those who struggle to make a living from the land and who, when the bad times come, are driven to extremity and violence in order to survive. It’s a startlingly original addition to the literature of northern England." Ian McGuire, author of The North Water

"Scott Preston lifts the veil from the picture-postcard beauty of Britain's Cumbrian fells to expose an atmosphere of festering despair in the lives of two farmers who lose everything when their sheep are destroyed by the government in order to contain an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease. When they take desperate measures to rebuild their shattered world, what happens feels tragically inevitable. The Borrowed Hills is a story of anger and violence, devotion, love, and back-breaking hard work, told with dark, dead-pan humour and a rough kind of poetry." —Carys Davies, author of West and Clear

"A remarkable debut. Taut, intelligent and beautifully told." —M. J. Hyland, Booker Prizeshortlisted author of Carry Me Down

"You could read this remarkable novel just for its dazzling prose, but there’s more: razor sharp dialogue, meshed gear plotting, and above all a powerful evocation of a landscape and a way of life unknown to most of us, until now." —Joseph Kanon, author of Leaving Berlin

"Utterly absorbing and original, Scott Preston writes with a poet’s heart and a cinematic eye. A painfully truthful account of the foot and mouth outbreak and the effects it had on the farming community, The Borrowed Hills shows the other, darker side to the Cumbrian Fells and to rural life up and down the country." Rebecca Smith, author of Rural: The Lives of the Working-Class Countryside