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Ross Raisin

Author of God's Own Country

5+ Works 578 Members 26 Reviews

About the Author

Image credit: Nigel Beale

Works by Ross Raisin

God's Own Country (2008) 349 copies, 20 reviews
Waterline (2011) 89 copies, 3 reviews
A Natural (2017) 89 copies, 3 reviews
A Hunger (2022) 14 copies

Associated Works

Granta 119: Britain (2012) — Contributor — 111 copies
The Best British Short Stories 2013 (2013) — Contributor — 15 copies


Common Knowledge



Four stars for the writing. I love books written in dialect and this one really comes alive. Probably make a fantastic radio play. The narrator also comes alive and while you see clearly the people around him, by the end you feel how deeply he is cut off from from all other human beings. They are part of the scenery for him, or less than the scenery. He cares for animals and people but without fully understanding the expectations between people that underpin family ties and a wider society. This is sufficient for working on the farm, but not for normal relationships with people.

I finished the book feeling a bit queasy and reluctant to give it 4 stars and I am still exploring just why. I felt the author was colluding with the verdict of many in the book that he was 'a bad one' and that nothing could have been done, which does not fit my own philosophy. However I decided that the author is telling it like it is - and I can read it as a person not put together right, or broken - rather than evil. There is also a dark North Eastern english element simmering in the background. Unforgiving. I shall not want to re-read this book, but while I was reading it was very compelling and I'm glad I did, despite it being so uncomfortable once the half way mark had been passed and you realise there is no salvation.

Comic it is not. Don't know how anyone could use that word with this book.
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Ma_Washigeri | 19 other reviews | Jan 23, 2021 |
'Brilliantly comic' says the blub. Depressingly dark, I say.
oldblack | 19 other reviews | Apr 9, 2020 |
The day after I finished this book, by coincidence, I listened to a podcast about the reasons for the rich-poor life expectancy gap in the west Scotland/Glasgow area. Contrary to popular view, it's not due to the consumption of (mythical) deep-fried Mars Bars, or smoking rates. It's due to early death of people born in the 1960s who have lost their way in life through the closure of their source of employment such as shipyards. Suicide is a big issue. This book is a story of one such life - Mick Little. It's also a story about families, and in particular the relationship between fathers and sons. Alcohol is involved. It tells a very realistic (I think) tale of how a person can become homeless. It's not a simple story, and people act in a way that is hard to understand, but that's reality, I reckon. I could easily see myself becoming Mick Little in the right circumstances.
I've got Ross Raisin's "God's Own Country", but the story is too close to home to read right now. I'm hoping I'll be in a place when I can read it soon. I'm sure it will be good.
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oldblack | 2 other reviews | Jan 24, 2019 |
I tore through this book in a few days and highly suspect I will read it again, which tells you that I liked it right off the bat. This was sold to me by my local library's ebook system through a snippet that said "like The Art of Fielding but about the Premiere League." While I don't think that's necessarily 100% true, especially given the difference in length, I think if you liked TAoF (I loved it) you will like this book. A few reasons why:

The writing. It's paced well and Raisin is adept at exploring the interior of his characters without things getting clogged up or dry. The book focuses on a couple different characters and, while I don't normally love that, the tone of A Natural keeps things smooth through all the characters. Everyone's given a fair shot in terms of how they're portrayed and nobody feels like the odd person out that you don't want to read about.

The plot. It's a bit infuriating in that you always feel like you're just on the edge of something explosive happening and it's always slipping away, which makes it a bit of a page turner. While I actually would've liked this book to be a bit longer, just to give it some more space to explore characters, I think the ending was pitch perfect. Spoiler alert - it's not super happy or super satisfying, but it's really what the book called for. (That being said, I desperately want a sequel that's like five years in the future, especially for the main character. Oh well.)

The style. In my opinion, the styling of this book is what really made it. It's hard to describe, but the way the book feels to read - both sad and hopeful, constrained and dangerous - is a powerful meta-narrative on the themes of the book (eg sexuality, sport, secrecy, etc.).
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PlaidApple | 2 other reviews | Apr 21, 2018 |



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