Things Found on the Mountain

Diana Powell
Publication Date: 
Monday, May 22, 2023
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Farmer’s daughter Beth is a child of nature, utterly at one with the rugged landscape on which she tends the farm’s sheep, in a remote valley in the Black Mountains. But change is coming. The modern world arrives with the construction of a reservoir in a neighbouring valley. Part of the mountain is taken away to build the dam; there are people, machinery, noise. Then the farms are emptied of their young men by the First World War, including Beth’s beloved brother Daniel, who goes missing in action. Her mother turns to religion, her father falls silent.

Beth takes to the mountain, and a solitude interrupted by the arrival of a colony of artists led by the charismatic Eric Gill. And among them is Gill’s apprentice, Gabriel. When the colony moves on, Beth faces a terrible choice: can she leave the Mountain to be with Gabriel?

Things Found on the Mountain is a Hardyesque coming of age story. At its heart is the dramatic landscape, which, like Beth, suffers an end to innocence. This lyrically written novel, reminiscent of Sarah Hall, marks the arrival of an appealing new voice in fiction.

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