Disputed Land, By Tim Pears


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The Independent Culture

Over the course of seven novels, Tim Pears has made the Welsh borders his literary stomping ground. But in this latest work it's more than the fate of rural Shropshire that hangs in the balance.

When Leonard and Rosemary Cannon summon their three children and grandchildren to their Ludlow farmhouse, it's to inform them that Rosemary is dying from a brain tumour.

Thirteen-year-old Theo, the book's narrator, is devastated by the news, though unsure how to handle his grandmother's apocalyptic lectures on over-population and environmental catastrophe.

As ever, matters of kinship and landscape are key to Pears's vision, though the novel's underlying eco-agenda can feel over-done.