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Ness by @RobGMacfarlane @StanleyDonwood

By Pamelascott

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 black mass 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, Robert Macfarlane and Stanley Donwood 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, among other books. Stanley Donwood is an artist and the author of Slowly Downward and Household Worms. His next books are There Will Be No Quiet and Bad Island.

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The Armourer says: Who will describe the chapel's design and position?' THE GREEN CHAPEL (1)

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(Hamish Hamilton, 7 November 2019, hardback, 72 pages, borrowed from @GlasgowLib)

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I'm a huge fan of Robert Macfarlane after reading some of his books and I've wanted to read Ness for ages. I devoured it in less than thirty minutes. I could read it again and again. First off, this is not about the Loch Ness monster as I assumed from the title and without reading anything about the book. The book draws on myth and legend to create a story about creatures made of sea and land, making their way towards the same destination the mysterious Green Chapel to become one, a mysterious creature called Ness. Donwood's stark black and white illustration work really well here. The prose is a combination of short paragraphs and prose poems, some sections use the viewpoint of these strange creatures wearing their way towards the Green Chapel and some sections are from the people inside. This is very effective and unlike anything I've read before.

Ness by @RobGMacfarlane @StanleyDonwood

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