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Common Ground

Andrew Cowan

8 Reviews

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Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

By the multi-garlanded author of PIG, a novel that asks - what kind of world do you want to bring your child up in and are you brave enough to change it

Ashley, a disaffected geography teacher and Jay, a printer in a local arts project, are about to start a family, though both have mixed feelings about becoming parents, especially when their house is crumbling around them and their neighbourhood seems increasingly anarchic. As Jay becomes deeply involved in the fight to save the ancient woodland of Hogslea Common from a planned motorway, Ashley corresponds with his carefree brother, who is backpacking round the world. With the gap between the couple widening as steadily as the cracks in their walls, Ashley has to choose between his parents' values and abandoning a society he finds increasingly precarious and menacing.

By the author of the award-winning PIG, this is a sharply observed, often funny and thought-provoking tale of modern life and of the choices we all have to make - as parents, children and members of society.

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Praise for Common Ground

  • Cowan has the rare ability to write an ambitious novel in a tone which is both intimate and engaging...He creates a fictional world at once bleak and tender, a beautifully exact portrait of a 1900s inner city - The Times

  • Cowan's observation is superb - TLS

  • [He writes with] freshness and authenticity..Cowan understands the real pain of life's moments of pathos - New Statesman

  • A fine and acutely perceived novel - Independent


  • A first novel of extraordinary poise and accomplishment, treating a boy's coming of age amid the squalid realities of the new British underclass with a delicacy and lyricism which is both gripping and moving - Michael Dibdin

  • The detail is immaculately recorded; the effect is heartbreaking - Louisa Young, Sunday Times

  • [A] wholly satisfying book, quietly beautiful and inescapably ominous - David Buckley, Observer

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Andrew Cowan

Andrew Cowan was born in Corby and educated at the University of East Anglia. Pig, his first novel, won The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, a Betty Trask Award, the Ruth Hadden Memorial Prize, the Author's Club First Novel Award and a Scottish Council Book Award. He is also the author of the writing guidebook The Art of Writing and three other novels: Common Ground, Crustaceans and What I Know. He is the Director of the Creative Writing programme at UEA.

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