Doggerland

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

I'll be honest and say I've rarely had such trouble trying to categorise or define a book. Doggerland by Ben Smith revolves around a boy (picking up his father's contract on a rig in the sea after his father leaves, or tries to), an older man and the pilot of a maintenance boat. The rig is there to house those responsible for servicing multitudes of wind turbines in the sea. Actually the sea could be a main character in itself and the author does a great job of making you feel like you're there and it can feel claustrophobic at times. 

This is a book with a minimum of dialogue and mostly descriptive  prose but even then the prose is pared right back to the minimum necessary although at times I really wanted to know more than the sparseness of the writing allowed. There are hints and very limited revelations about who the characters are and why they are there but for me too much is left unsaid and at the end of the book I felt I simply hadn't been told enough about the who/what/why etc. 

Up until about a third of the way through I had struggled to keep reading simply because very little seemed to be happening although this section really deals with scene setting and character introductions, such as they are. I'd encourage perseverance though as the book pics up after the first third as the boy tries to plan his own escape. Descriptions of the sea and rig and boat and storms and turbines are all excellent and there is both a palpable sense of depression and of attempts to grasp at hope. I'll be honest I found myself tuning into the air of depression in the book a bit too much at times. This book is about making the most of the very limited resources you have and what can be used from dredging the waters. The ending is a bit too abrupt for me and I closed the book feeling glad that I'd read it but unsatisfied with so much left unsaid or unexplained. For me the book actually reads more like a fable than anything else and I think it would actually be a book that might be on a school curriculum and open to various interpretations. While it's worth reading the biggest issue for me is that there's simply too much left unexplained. 

I can't honestly say I'd be in a rush to read it again but I would nonetheless have a copy on my bookshelf. It's that kind of book, you'd want to have it even if unlikely to re-read. I suspect it will divide opinion and would be a good choice for a book group. 

Thanks to Harper Collins UK and NetGalley for ARC.
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A boy who is no longer really a boy. An old man who isn’t as sharp as he once was. A lonely rig in an endless sea of gradually failing wind turbines, towering above a sunken land.

Doggerland is character-driven perfection. It is bleak, claustrophobic, beautiful and strangely hopeful. Ben Smith paints such a stunningly vivid portrait of this very narrow setting that I could almost smell the metallic, industrial tang of the rig. My mind took me back to the tour of the USS Midway in San Diego, even down to the way I kept painfully grazing my ankles on the sharp-edged stairs. That same sense of a harsh, unfriendly but functional environment and a space designed for far more people and considerably more activity left hollow and rattling.

Doggerland is a thoughtful, speculative novel that forces you to consider your relationship with the land around you and the reality of the changes that we’re all guilty of inflicting on our planet. If you don’t enjoy character driven fiction, it probably won’t tick your boxes but I dare anyone to say that this book and its underlying message don’t pack one hell of a punch.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it and I hope this sense of guilt and responsibility will hang around for long enough for me to stop being such a lazy cow and start thinking less about convenience and more about longevity. I can’t wait to take notes from all of you - assuming Greg doesn’t kill me for peeling all the labels off our tins.

A big thank you to @4thestatebooks for my copy of this stunning debut in exchange for an honest review.
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Bleak but compelling, this is a very powerful depiction of a post-disaster future in which everything is slowly collapsing into the sea.  While it is tempting to see parallels with the current political situation in its location in the flooded land between Britain and mainland Europe, Smith is confident enough in his approach and the power of his writing that he sets the novel almost entirely in the present of three characters, leaving the reader to develop their own theories about what has brought them, and the world, to this point.  There is lots of impressive technical detail about turbines and rigs that only occasionally become exhausting and it is the precision of Smith's writing that enables him to describe boredom, frustration and restriction without the novel itself becoming tedious or entirely negative. An impressive achievement.
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This book is set on a wind farm some time in the future, or in an alternative world possibly - it's hard to be sure and this is never actually confirmed. In this place the water level eventually rises so that there is very little land left; the land the wind farm was built on is partially submerged.

Two men - one younger and one older - are employed by a company to keep the farm going. They live on a rig and travel around on a boat. The only contact they have with the outside world is a supply ship that comes now and then; otherwise, they are alone. The rest of the world and even the past is somewhat of a mystery, particularly to the boy who doesn't remember anything much beyond working on the rig. He does know that his father used to work on the farm, but disappeared and Jem, the boy, was taken there to work in his place until the contract was fulfilled. Jem doesn't know what happened to his father but constantly wonders about where he might have gone, and how he escaped the desolate wind farm.

This book is very strange and detached. The extreme dystopian setting means that life for the characters is very different to anything we would experience, and so the story is unusual and unpredictable.

The plot is slow-moving because obviously nothing much happens out on the farm. This is more of a thought-provoking and emotional piece about family and commitment, and what different people will do to escape from or face up to their responsibilities.

I wouldn't say I had a strong feeling of enjoyment from the book, but it is certainly well written and I was kept interested until the end. It did dwindle a little in the middle, perhaps because the author had a lot of mood and background to build into the story.

I honestly don't know how to categorise this one, or whether I would recommend it or not. It's a strange book. I think I probably did like it, but I don't know if anyone else would or not. Perhaps one for those who enjoy philosophical and contemporary fiction, bordering on sci-fi.
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Doggerland is a novel that is stripped back in almost every possible way:

The setting – an offshore rig, a vast wind farm in the North Sea. Nothing to see but turbines and saltwater for miles around.

The cast – two grizzled and taciturn maintenance men, one older (“the old man”) and one not so old (“the boy”, though he’s not actually a boy).

The context – sometime in the future sea levels have risen. Vague suggestions of the wider world now controlled by ‘the Company’ and an occasional word in Mandarin are the few hints provided.

The prose – unadorned, almost flat, often technical. Quite a lot about turbines and nacelles, gunwales and gantries. More poetic interstices describe the glacial melt that flooded Doggerland over the course of millennia, cutting Britain off from continental Europe. 

The characterisations – the two taciturn figures in this story are ciphers, we never learn much about them. Their emotional and psychological state is mostly left up to the reader’s inference.

The plot – minimal. I won’t give away what happens but don’t go into this one expecting thrills and spills.

Doggerland has some beautifully cinematic moments and touches of dry absurdist humour. With the right actors to bring it to life, it could be marvellous adapted for the stage. But on the page it feels lacking, underdeveloped. Subtle and understated, perhaps to a fault.
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Set in the near future where sea levels have risen, Doggerland takes place on an offshore rig where 'the man' and 'the boy' spend their time fixing the multiple wind turbines over an 80-acre span. The 'Boy', sent there by the 'Company' to replace his father who has disappeared whilst looking for a way to escape from the rig, looks to find answers to his disappearance whilst also looking for a way to make his own escape.

The book is a short atmospheric read and well recommended.
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Once, there was a land where our ancestors lived a good life: a fertile plain filled with game, where a small nomadic human population roamed, hunting and fishing, gathering the nuts and fruits that grew abundantly. But the climate changed. The ice melted. The fertile homeland disappeared beneath the sea and Britain became an island. 
In his novel Doggerland, Ben Smith imagines a near-future when the climate has changed again. The ancient Doggerland of the ancestors has been under the North Sea for many thousands of years, and now, in a new age of global warming, the sea is rising again, taking more of the land. And out at sea, a massive wind-farm, stretches beyond all that is known, making the reader wonder, just how far does this future version of the sea stretch?
The time of the novel is not given, the nature of the disaster is not described.
A maintenance crew live on an abandoned oil rig to fight the daily battle to keep the turbines rolling. This crew is just two people, the Old Man and the Boy. We don’t know who these characters are, or how old they are. All we know are the grinding details of their lives, the small amusements they create to stay sane. The turbines where they work are the product of some recent past - a more reliable, more capable culture than the one the Boy and the Old Man inhabit. Their job is one of constant maintenance, constant repair, but still the turbines fail.
The Old Man and the Boy are not on the rig voluntarily, though the exact details of their exile, the coercive nature of their servitude, is unknown. Their situation is drear and desperate: the only escape from the grinding boredom of their daily lives is fraught and sudden danger and the old man’s dodgy ‘homebrew’.
The story limits itself almost exclusively to these two lives. Another, a pilot appears briefly, a man who brings supplies to the rig where the boy and the old man live. Living family is briefly mentioned, and the boy’s father, missing, presumed dead for many years. It is the boy’s desperate search for what happened to his father that finally takes the story in a new direction, leading the Boy to an astonishing discovery and an accidental odyssey. But in this world of seemingly eternal water, there is no escape. Now, it seems, all there is, is water. ‘…turning to solid mass, taking its liquid forms – ripple, eddy, vortex – and translating them to tendril, flower, leaf. This is water reaching skywards, arching and holding its shape.’
The writing is achingly poetic: grim, industrial reality and harsh, unconcerned nature are described with an equal, sparse beauty. But the story is one of relationship and family - the Boy wants to find the truth of what happened to his father, but is driven off-course, leaving the old man behind. Finally, all his ambition, all his dreams are thwarted in one sentence from the Old Man. It takes one, startling revelation, casually dropped with heartbreaking lack of ceremony, for the Boy to understand that. The Old Man and the Boy are the only family each has and will likely ever have.
Comparisons with Cormac McCarthy’s The Road are obvious, though Doggerland is less bleak. There is still hope here, be it ever so tenuous. Like our ancient ancestors, the world the Old Man and the Boy knew is gone forever, but there is a new world out there, somewhere: a potential future. If nothing else, their story is a salient reminder that nothing, not the land beneath our feet nor the oceans themselves, are eternal. All things change. All things must pass.
‘The wind blows, the branches creak and turn. Somewhere in the metal forest, a tree slumps, groans but does not quite fall. The landscape holds fast, for a moment. For how long? It may be centuries. Barely worth mentioning in the lifetime of water…’
It’s a wonderfully evocative novel. A week after I finished reading it, I often catch myself thinking about the world and its characters. This, to me, is the mark of great writing.
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A tremendous study of solitude, desire for freedom, and (strangely) love. Economically written, perfectly paced. A great novel.
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I loved this book, so scary yet very good reading. The characters make you really enjoy this book and what might have happened, but overall this is something everyone should read and also should tell friends about, so far this is one of my faves this year!
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Doggerland tells the story of two men, referred to as 'the boy' and 'the old man', although really it's impossible to determine their ages. They are completely alone in a dystopian future, working to maintain a steadily decaying wind farm. It's fair to say the setting is desolate - there is nothing warm or fuzzy about this place. It's harsh and uncompromising. I've recently discovered that I have a mild case of 'Thalassophobia' - I swear I'm not making this up! This is an intense and persistent fear of the sea or of sea travel and can include fear of being in large bodies of water, fear of the vast emptiness of the sea, of sea waves, and fear of distance from land. It explains why I want to vomit when I saw pictures of vast oceans or waterfalls.

So, a book set on a rig in the middle of a vast ocean was always going to make me feel somewhat nauseous and the setting is described in such a visceral manner that I really felt the isolation and vastness of the environment they are in. It made me really uncomfortable - which demonstrates how well written the landscape is.

The reason they are in this position is unclear, although we do know that the boy was sent to this place by 'the company' following the disappearance of his father who worked there before him. It also doesn't appear that there is any real incentive or motivation for them to do a very good job at maintaining the farm - they aren't given the appropriate materials or tools and it seems as if they have been all but forgotten about there, aside from the supply boat, which turns up sporadically and unreliably.

The relationship between the two protagonists has many subtle layers. On one level they obviously dislike each other and want very different things. But then, they also crave the company of each other and feel a bond with each other, being alone together in such a remote outpost. It is so interesting to learn of the sacrifices that they make for each other even when that means giving up their own obsessions.

The struggle I had with this book, is my age old need to understand WHY things are happening. There is no explanation of what is going on on the mainland and what has happened to human society with this rise of sea levels. It didn't make sense to me why they were even there. If the wind farm was so important to keep going, in order to supply energy to whatever civilization remained, then why were two massively under-qualified individuals left there to fight against a tide of rot and decay? Why wouldn't there have been more people based on the rig? Perhaps this is my fault, in constantly trying to make sense of things, instead of just accepting the narrative for what it is. Also, in following our two protagonists, there is quite a lot of focus on the intricate workings and mechanics of the wind turbines, which I found a bit monotonous at times.

Ultimately this is a story about the relationship between these two men and the mechanisms they use to survive in such a hostile environment. I can well imagine that some readers will love the introspective nature of it and the atmospheric landscape it is set in. Ultimately though, I found it just too bleak and I couldn't fully invest in the story when I couldn't understand why they would even be there in the first place...
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This was a wonderfully atmospheric quick read. It tells the story of an old man (who isn't really that old) and a boy (who isn't really still a boy) living alone in a post apocalyptic world tending to a wind farm that stretches for thousands of acres. 
The dialogue between the pair, much like the environment is spartan. But almost conversely this makes for a gloriously rich connection between the two. The boy has come to the wind farm to fulfil his father's contract to "the company" after his father's disappearance and presumed death... 
But as the reader we never really know for sure. And thusly the relationship between the old man and the boy is one mired in mystery and tension. This makes for a tremendously gripping reading experience as, along with the boy, we as the reader struggle to make sense of this world, make sense of the old man, make sense of all that has gone before. 
I can't even begin to explain how fabulously well written this is as this book makes the atmosphere of this world truly come alive. The prose is simply poetic and incredibly moving while the claustrophobic nature of the story was almost tangible. I thoroughly loved reading this book. It was the ultimate tale of human survival instinct and the driving power of hope in the absence of light. 
I also truly appreciated the author's research into Doggerland (an area that was once land that linked GB to continental Europe but was flooded by rising seas circa 6,000 BC and is now submerged beneath the North Sea) and how he deftly added little touches to the narrative of this once peopled area.  

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves atmospheric reads and is interested in books that explore the human spirit. 


*An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Harper Collins UK: 4th Estate, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
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The Old Man and The Boy service an off shore wind farm out in the North Sea, way beyond being able to see land. They live on a platform (I imagine Sealand) and their view is just the sea and various generations of decaying turbines. As one turbine dies, they cannibalise its parts to repair others. The Boy is there to replace his father who broke his contract. The Old Man has always been there. They are serviced by a quarterly supply boat whose master runs a black market trading racket. He trades the lagan and jetsam that the Old Man is able to fish up from the seabed in return for the supplies that might stretch the lifespan of the turbines. 

There is no beginning and no end. The Boy and the Old Man have no past life; they have no future. There is no boundary to the wind farm and the sea. There is no hint of anyone who might benefit from the wind farm. 

The Boy and the Old Man are suspicious of each other. With just one another for company - and the creaks and grand and bangs of the plant as it is ravaged by the sea - they try to live independent lives despite being mutually dependent on one another. They care for each other and they hate each other. 

Bizarrely, this reminded me of the vast cattle stations in Australia, remote and isolated, farmers living in grinding poverty to supply a wealthy nation that they seldom see with their meat. And inevitably - probably intentionally - it reminded me of The Old Man and The Sea. Almost nothing happens, just the battle between man and nature that nature always wins. And then, there were also shades of the final scenes of The Truman Show as Truman sails for a shoreline he doesn't even believe exists. 

The book is short, the writing is spare and stylised. But despite the bleakness, there is a warmth in the writing that keeps the reader engaged. Through the boredom and drudgery and backbiting we see genuine affection that the odd couple feel for one another. We see that some of the mutual suspicion and prying might have come from good hearts. 

The novel is interleaved with occasional fragments from a past when Doggerland was dry land, inhabited by people who could never have imagined the horror of the grey, windswept sea. It is never clear whether these snippets were long ago and the sea is the present day, or whether the land is the present day and the sea is the future we all face. 

Either way, it has made me feel that we all owe a greater gratitude to those who endure hardship to support the comfortable lives that many of us lead. 

Doggerland is a short novel, but one that leaves a deep impression.
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In the North Sea, in the not-so-distant future, far from what remains of the coastline, is a massive wind farm stretching over thousands of acres of ocean, maintained by the Boy and the Old Man. The Boy was sent by the Company to take the place of his father, who disappeared. Where he went and why remains a mystery that the Boy is desperate to find out.

To be totally honest, I didn’t really get this book. I’m not entirely sure where they were, what they were meant to be doing there, or how they got there, which was a bit of a struggle. The situation on land is only alluded to, never explained, which was an effective method of story-telling but really hindered my understanding.

However, despite being bleak and vague, it is beautifully written and I still enjoyed reading it. The style of this book is VERY similar to The Road – ‘the boy’, ‘the old man’ and ‘the pilot’ caused an immediate connection between the two – so if you’re a Cormack McCarthy fan, Doggerland might be right up your street.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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The waters of the world have pushed back the land, driven over it, covered the earth leaving a sea of particles, plastics and life built upon the waves. The Boy is stuck with the old man repairing the turbines on a huge wind farm. Is there still land? The novel doesn’t really ever say definitively.

What we do know is that Boy’s father disappeared when his contract was unfinished, leaving Boy to fulfil it. They watch the system to alert them to faults and they take the maintenance boat and try and fix the turbines, try and keep them generating electricity.

Once in a while the supply boat comes. You can trade with the pilot for more than food, which comes in tins, food that’s made in factories and tastes nothing like what the old man remembers of food grown in soil or farmed on the land.

What really happened to Boy’s father? He’d always promised to come back to Boy and his mother, but he never did.

Something about the strained optimism, the boredom of maintenance and repair, of working inside a controlled system, reminds me not only of the classics, of Kafka and Beckett, but also of Magnus Mills. This is a very male drawn out whimper of an ending-of-world scenario but it’s compelling and beautiful in its stark focus on the grey stretch of waves, weather and work.

There aren’t any answers here, there is just the desire to keep going, that wonderful glimmer pushing survival forwards in the hope of something more than function.

I really enjoyed this novel. I liked being swallowed by it, sometimes confused by how the past and present become washed into one same swell of salty water, but always also surprised by what might still be discovered between people, across the farm and perhaps further across the sea.

The title too, is of course significant. It refers to the submerged landscape in the North Sea, a landscape the development of a wind farm off the Norfolk coast has helped to uncover more about. The idea that a wind farm built now reveals evidence of a land once connected to Europe and now submerged has that wonderful cyclical feel as the wind farm of the novel shows the mutability of our present land as water continues to ebb and flow over us, constantly creating new Doggerlands lost beneath the waves. There’s a real mythic, unpretentious and quiet poetry to this novel. Out early April 2019, I thoroughly recommend it.

Next week I’m reading The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker.
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This is a strange claustrophobic  novel set in some sort of dystopian future, which left me feeling rather melancholy. There are just three characters in this book, which adds to the feeling or isolation and loneliness. The story centres around 'The Boy' and 'The Old Man' who reside on an offsure wind farm in the unforgiving North Sea, their days are monotonous as they fix turbines and collect debris from the sea. That is until The Boy thinks about escaping the rig. 

The poetic nature of the writing really bring the the story to life, this is a bleak novel but one also full of humour and above all, hope.
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Ben Smith's debut novel is set amid a  turbine field in the North Sea at some unknown point in the future when the environment seems to have been badly degraded and civilisation is on the wane.  

The two central characters, known simply as the Boy and the Old Man, live on an isolated rig at the centre of the field  and are employed by the all-powerful Company to service the turbines. Their only contact with the outside world is in the form of periodic visits from a supply boat operated by a corrupt pilot whose primary interest is exchanging favours for parts stripped from the turbines.

The stark and pitiless world of the wind farm is wonderfully evoked  –  the endless encroachment of water, the scouring of wind and salt, the vibration of metal under constant pressure, the groaning of outdated mechanical systems. Against this backdrop is played out the psychodrama of the Boy's struggle to learn the fate of his vanished  father whose place on the rig he has been obliged to take.

A powerful and poetic and novel about survival and acceptance, Doggerland is a kind of existentialist  fable, pitting human hopes and ambitions against the vast and intimidating perspective of evolutionary time.
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Doggerland is an area that once connected the British Isles to mainland Europe, succumbing to rising sea levels around 6,500 to 6,200 BCE. Now, in an unspecified future, a vast portion of these isles has also been flooded. A young man, mostly referred to as the boy – his naming, towards the end of this short novel, feels almost incidental -  works on a vast windfarm situated off what was once the coastline. His colleague is known as the old man, also barely named. They exist together on an offshore rig, eating dismal tinned rations, occasionally getting intoxicated on the evil-sounding hooch that the old man brews. Theirs is a Sisyphean task, maintaining the seemingly numberless turbines, scarcely helped by the creaking technology at their disposal – unreliable sat navs and crashing computer systems. Even the clocks don’t work properly. Their language contains the odd smattering of Chinese. The only reading material is technology manuals and maps showing only the extent of the windfarm which seems almost boundless – redolent of The Truman Show, of Reepicheep sailing off the edge of the world in the Narnia series. The boy works here because his father used to. His father disappeared, “reneged on his contract,” and the faceless corporation requires him, as his son, to take his place. 
The description of this book as The Road meets Waiting for Godot is spot on, and. I was also put in mind, bizarrely, of WALL-E, with the trawling of an post-apocalyptic landscape – or in this case, seascape – that the old man does, catching rubbish, sifting through it, storing it in his cell-like room – bottles of plastic flakes, old bones, pins, pebbles. Some of the pebbles have been sanded down to accentuate their shape of “headless torsos with jutting breasts and smooh fat thighs that stirred strange thoughts that [the boy] didn’t  know he possessed… If there ever had been a use for that stuff, there wasn’t now” – there are no women in this story, regeneration or birth in the world these men inhabit.
The boy is, of course, driven to find out how and why his father disappeared, the search taking him to the margins of the farm, where there are enormous turbines, hooked up to the grid but without maintenance systems and cameras. One of the most compelling passages concerns the working drinks machine the boy finds inside one of them, a machine dispensing coffee, a substance he has hitherto only heard about in the old man’s reminiscences, and to which he quickly becomes addicted.
This is a wonderful book, bleak and moving, and deserves to do well. I really hope it does.
Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC.
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Ben Smith’s novel, Doggerland, supposes a world in the not so distant future suffering the effects of climate change, pollution, surveillance  and decay. Superbly crafted to inspire not only empathetic feelings of isolation, despair and loneliness but also hope and longing for change in an environment in which it appears none exist. .Gripping from start to finish.
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This book was very different to those I usually read but, you know what, it made for a very pleasant change. Something I really needed as I had been overdosing on crime a bit! 
Set in the n ear future, we follow an old man, Griel, and a boy, Jem, who work on an isolated rig, spending their days mending wind turbines and eating strange things out of tins. The old man has been there for years, the boy having been forced there to take up his father's contract after he disappeared. All around them is sea and they rely on the supply boat which is often late. Griel spends his down-time (sometimes spilling into working hours) checking his nets to see what he has found. Jem tries to fix the turbines but, all the time, wondering about his father. And then, one day, he finds the boat his father tried to escape on...
This was beautifully written. I am not usually one for over-descriptive books but, given the right accompanying narrative, I can easily find myself immersed into what I am reading. Here the description speaks volumes to the isolation and despair that the two characters feel. Yes, OK, I could have taken or left the parts where Jem is "fixing" things but that did speak more to his character and, being a very character driven book, was a necessary evil for me! 
During the book there were chapters inserted which told about the evolution and change of land and sea. These were wonderfully lyrical and, indeed, fascinating. 
The difference between the characters was, for me, what really made the book. How each of them reacted to the cards that life had dealt them. They really were chalk and cheese, but at the end of the day, they worked well together as a team. I'd love to expand on this more but to do so might spoil things for others. I will just say that I loved the way they adapted the game of pool to fit the decrepit state of the equipment!
All in all, a wonderful story which held my attention nicely throughout. One that reminded me that I really do need to read more of this type of book. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read it.
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Stuck in a contract for a mysterious Company (shades of 1984, although we never know), the old man and the boy tend the vast wind farm, taking the maintenance boat around to fix turbines which need fixing according to the computerised maintenance report. The report is nearly always wrong; some have no problem, others have an entirely different problem from what is reported.

The old man is a victim of his lonely trade. The boy is becoming one, although he has a quest, to find out what happened to his father. The Company forced the boy to take on his father's contract when he disappeared.

And, with occasional forays into the state of Doggerland over the ages, that is the story. The old man and the boy. The power of boredom, the eroding of faculties by lack of purpose. The interactions between two people who, try as they might, cannot escape each other.

It's strangely compelling. The seas and fields of turbines are part of the landscape, and characters in their own right. Having spent many hours gazing at the North Sea, I felt at home in this landscape, but awfully afraid of what might happen, or not happen, which was worse.

I've labelled it dystopia, because society has clearly broken down. Is there even a society left, or are they left on their own? I've labelled it weird, because it is, although maybe not in the formal genre sense. I've labelled it environmental, because wildlife seems to have disappeared, and the tale of what catches onto their hooks tells its own story of the mess we are making of our planet. The writing was great, and the concept astounding. But I'm left feeling depressed, which is a sure sign of dystopia.
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