“To write about Beastings is to write about silence. Benjamin Myers’s latest novel has a small central cast of uncommunicative characters: a mute teenage girl, a baby, a determined priest, and a disgruntled poacher. It is an achievement, then, on Myers’s part, to have created such a strong voice that runs through the novel as the bedrock for the action. In this case the narrative comes from the English countryside, which is increasingly becoming Myers’s arena for drama.
As the group of disgruntled characters traipse up hillsides, through thick woodlands, and across streams and valleys, there are moments of immediacy, akin to standing amongst the shrubs and the mud and the bees and the streams in the Lake District. I wrote last year, as part of an interview with Myers for Bookslut, that he was increasingly choosing to elevate the countryside above the setting of a traditional pastoral story, and he ups his game again here. Simply put, the countryside steals the show….”