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The Last of the Greenwoods

Clare Morrall

10 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

The intriguing story of two eccentric brothers and a troubled young postwoman - three outsiders whose pasts resurface in a captivating novel about guilt and forgiveness.

In a field outside Bromsgrove, two elderly brothers live in adjoining railway carriages. No one visits and they never speak to each other. Until the day Zohra Dasgupta, a young postwoman, delivers an extraordinary letter - from a woman claiming to be the sister they thought had been murdered fifty years earlier.

So begins an intriguing tale: is this woman an impostor? If she's not, what did happen all those years ago? And why are the brothers such recluses? Then there's Zohra. Once a bright, outgoing teenager, the only friend she will see from her schooldays is laidback Crispin, who has roped her in to the restoration of an old railway line on his father's land. For which, as it happens, they need some carriages . . .

With wry humour and a cast of characters as delightful as they are damaged, Clare Morrall tells an engrossing story of past misdeeds and present reckoning, which shows that for all the wrong turnings we might take, sometimes it is possible to retrace our steps.

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Praise for The Last of the Greenwoods

  • Morrall's writing is tender and subtle: each character is finely drawn, with their flaws and tics as vivid as their courage and kindness. At no point is one drawn into a false sense of empathy; rather, we meander through the story, becoming increasingly involved. As the plot streams towards it triumphant conclusion, the strands unite into a story that is set in time but also timeless - about recognition, family and what it means to belong. - Literary Review

  • Elegantly written and has a fine sense of place - Observer

  • Ever since her 2003 Booker-shortlisted debut, Astonishing Splashes of Colour, Morrall has consistently turned out distinctive and sympathetic tales of quirky outsiders and underdogs. This is no exception. ... her compassion and heart-warming message - life is for the living - shine through - Daily Mail

  • Acutely observed . . . [The characters] are brought to life with speed and skill - it's clear she knows every last inch of these creations, as she's able to explore the dynamics between them through them with sparkling, memorable dialogue . . . rich and rewarding - Bookbag


  • Astute and vigorously imagined . . . frequently wise and deeply humane . . . After her Booker-shortlisted debut, and two historical novels, Morrall's accomplished move into speculative fiction marks her out as one of our most dependable writers. - Spectator

  • Morrall's superb imagination makes When the Floods Came hugely entertaining but the real power lies in the warmth of her writing and the charm of her characters. - The Times

  • Superbly imagined . . . A wonderful book by a terrific writer - Daily Mail

  • Morrall envisions an all too believable dystopian future in a novel that charms and appals in equal measure. - Irish Independent

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Clare Morrall

Clare Morrall's first novel, Astonishing Splashes of Colour, was published in 2003 and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize that year. She has since published the novels Natural Flights of the Human Mind, The Language of Others, The Man Who Disappeared, which was a TV Book Club Summer Read in 2010, The Roundabout Man and After the Bombing.

Born in Exeter, Clare Morrall now lives in Birmingham. She works as a music teacher, and has two daughters.

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