The Plot | Granta

  • Published: 01/07/2010
  • ISBN: 9781847081445
  • 129x20mm
  • 304 pages

The Plot

Madeleine Bunting

Madeleine Bunting is one of the most high-profile commentators in Britain. Her father was deeply conservative, with romantic, old-fashioned views about England. After his death, and wanting to understand him better, Bunting began to explore his passionate, lifelong attachment to a small plot of land in North Yorkshire. Delving deep into the rich history of this acre, she uncovers traces of its Neolithic inhabitants and of the Cistercian monks; she learns of the medieval battles and considers the changing face of agriculture and leisure. The result sheds a fascinating light on what a contested, layered place England is, and on what belonging to a place might mean to all of us. The Plot is an original, heartfelt and deeply political book.

An intriguing and elegant chronicle of a wild and woolly patch of England ... Bunting is on finest form dealing with recent history, particularly when she exposes the modern "cultural myth of the rural idyll" and the very English idiocy of preserving this view while the environment dies. Her scholarship ultimately produces a persuasive argument for a more potent sense of place in rootless, mobile Britain

Sunday Times

Bunting's exploration of the relationships between place and people is wide-ranging, researched with great intelligence and richly supported by detail

Guardian

A startling, willed, one-off book ... What she sets out to do is to look at the acre of land "in the middle of nowhere", with scholarly zest, until it becomes no longer a nowhere but a somewhere, known and minutely understood. She is an exemplary guide ... Her greatest achievement is to work a single acre to produce a more general portrait of England ... Above all, she questions what belonging is and discovers that it is about "commitment rather than possession"

Observer

The Author

Madeleine Bunting was for many years a columnist for the Guardian, which she joined in 1990. Bunting read History at Cambridge and Politics at Harvard. She is the author of many non-fiction books, including The Plot: A Biography of My Father’s English Acre, which won the Portico Prize, and Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey, which was shortlisted for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize and the Saltire Non-Fiction Book of the Year. She has also written a novel, Island Song. She lives in London.

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