Growing up in an isolated cottage in the hills of Cumberland, Tom knows the bitter cold of shooting expeditions with his grandfather and long evenings spent with his father and mother. But taken away from the hills to live in the small town of Thornton, Tom experiences a tumult of conflicting emotions which he must master before he can come to terms with his identity.
First published in 1965, FOR WANT OF A NAIL was acclaimed as the debut of a distinctive and talented new writer.
The impression is one of striking individuality - the sort of originality an author achieves when he has really meditated hard about his characters, loved them, watched them, and let them grow - Sunday Telegraph
A novel well worth returning to...a vivid and totally original imagination...tableau after tableau is spotlit into brilliant life - Scotsman
A very good novel...sparkles with a keen awareness of both local landscape and character - Cumberland Evening News
Fine, tense writing derived not from books but from passionate observation of particular landscapes and people - Spectator
Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster. His novels include The Hired Man, for which he won the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, Without a City Wall, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, The Soldier's Return, winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, A Son of War and Crossing the Lines, both of which were longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, A Place in England, which was longlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize, and most recently Grace and Mary. He has also written several works of non-fiction, the most recent being The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.