Ness

Robert Macfarlane

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Penguin Books Ltd
3 December 2020
ISBN: 9780241986370
Hardback
96 pages

From the publisher

Eerie, unsettling and hauntingly beautiful - a new collaboration from the bestselling creators of Holloway, Robert Macfarlane and Stanley Donwood

'Ness
goes beyond what we expect books to do. Beyond poetry, beyond the word, beyond the bomb -- it is an aftertime song' Max Porter, Booker-longlisted author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers


Somewhere on a salt-and-shingle island, inside a ruined concrete structure known as The Green Chapel, a figure called The Armourer is leading a ritual with terrible intent. But something is coming to stop him.

Five more-than-human forms are traversing land, sea and time towards The Green Chapel, moving to the point where they will converge and become Ness. Ness has lichen skin and willow-bones. Ness is made of tidal drift, green moss and deep time. Ness has hagstones for eyes and speaks only in birds. And Ness has come to take this island back.

What happens when land comes to life? What would it take for land to need to come to life?

Using word and image, the pair have together made a minor modern myth. Part-novella, part-prose-poem, part-mystery play, in Ness their skills combine to dazzling, troubling effect.

Robert Macfarlane is the author of The Lost Words with Jackie Morris, The Old Ways and Underland. Stanley Donwood is an artist and the author of Slowly Downward, Household Worms and Bad Island.