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After many generations, it is now, in 1971, Harold who runs Ard Farm. Out on the fells, he feels his father's presence, and there is hope that he, his grandmother and his Uncle Joe will be able to take the farm forward and prosper. But their way of life is under threat. Farming is undergoing huge change and increasingly harmful intervention. As the years pass, and Harold has a son of his own, he strives to keep control of his land, to make a go of it, even while forces he cannot understand are gradually destroying him... Towards Mellbreak is a hymn both to the landscape of Cumbria and to a disappearing world. Poetic, beautiful and tragic, it gives an account of the struggle to preserve traditions and beliefs in the face of change. It is a quietly bold indictment of the treatment of generations of British men, and an assertion of the power to be found in the rituals we pass down through our families.
"a really extraordinary, beautiful meditation on place and time, tradition and identity... passionate, quiet, political" * Rowan Williams * "This novel is so subtly written, building up the stories of good people and their tough lives, that we feel and then understand the depth of their relationships to each other and this beautiful, hard land - and so the tragedy of what happens is all the more heartbreaking." -- Tim Pears "How refreshing to find a first novel that does not read like the stilted product of a creative writing course... Bragg... not only displays a remarkable gift of observation - of human beings, animals, landscapes - but has written an impassioned elegy for a way of life that has come into head-on collision with the modern world" -- Max Davidson * Mail on Sunday * "A literary force... In so richly depicting the hermetic bond between the Cumbrian landscape and the people who live there, she makes a subtle political point about the ease with which governments and big business disregard those whose lives are, for the most part, hidden from view" -- Claire Allfree * Daily Mail * "Toward Mellbreak tells the story of struggling Cumbrian fell farmers, with a blunt lyrical richness that is resonant of Ted Hughes" * Good Housekeeping *