Unsettled Ground

Unsettled Ground

Written by: Fuller, Claire

From bestselling author Claire Fuller comes a portrait of life on the fringes of society, a heart-stopping novel of betrayal and resilience, love and survival.

What if the life you have always known is taken from you in an instant?

What would you do to get it back?

Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people. At fifty-one years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty.

But when Dot dies suddenly, threats start raining down. Jeanie and Julius would do anything to preserve their small sanctuary against the perils of the outside world, even as their mother’s secrets begin to unravel, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake.

From bestselling author Claire Fuller comes a portrait of life on the fringes of society, a heart-stopping novel of betrayal and resilience, love and survival.

What if the life you have always known is taken from you in an instant?

What would you do to get it back?

Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people. At fifty-one years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty.

But when Dot dies suddenly, threats start raining down. Jeanie and Julius would do anything to preserve their small sanctuary against the perils of the outside world, even as their mother’s secrets begin to unravel, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake.

Published By House of Anansi Press Inc — May 18, 2021
Specifications 304 pages | 5.5 in x 8.5 in

American Booksellers Association IndieNext Pick

Amazon Best Book of the Month

PRAISE FOR CLAIRE FULLER AND UNSETTLED GROUND

Finalist, Women’s Prize for Fiction

An American Booksellers Association IndieNext Pick 

An Amazon Best Book of the Month

“Claire Fuller’s Unsettled Ground is so sharply, so utterly brilliant that I found myself holding my breath while reading it, dazzled by Fuller's mastery and precision. Not since Flaubert’s A Simple Heart have I encountered a narrative that shows, with such clear and patient fury, how breathtaking vulnerability can come from poverty, pride, and helpless family love.” New York Times bestselling author Lauren Groff

Unsettled Ground is a gorgeously written celebration of the natural world as well as a moving portrait of a family struggling against time. Through buried secrets and private longings, the Seeders emerge as multi-layered characters living at the fringes of society. This book is ultimately about redemption — about the unexpected importance of neighbours, lovers, and friends, and the ways in which we can re-envision our lives for the better, even after the unimaginable has occurred.” — Lucy Tan, author of What We Were Promised

“Another engrossing book.” Entertainment Weekly

“[Fuller’s] memorable characters will work their way into your head and heart.” Good Housekeeping

“Fuller’s prose is often graceful, lyrical ... Fuller has a remarkable way of juxtaposing beauty with ugliness, resilience with despair, and her portrayal of these troubled but appealing siblings is as sensitive as it is powerful. Unsettled Ground shows us that at any age, the unexpected can trip us up and force us to rewrite not only our present but our past.” Toronto Star

“Fuller explores the painful realities of poverty and social isolation with immense sensitivity in this multi-layered and emotionally astute novel.” Guardian

“Fuller writers agonizingly well about the poverty, and the cruelty of predatory villagers who smell fresh blood. The scenario is thick with jeopardy — just when you think things can’t get worse, they do — yet, blessedly, the climax pulls back from the abyss without losing a jot of drama. Superb.” Daily Mail 

“A revelatory experience … [Claire Fuller is] a novelist doing her strongest work yet … This is a powerful, beautiful novel that shows us our land as it really is: a place of shelter and cruelty, innocence and experience.” Times (U.K.)

“Fuller has a keen eye for how things fall apart. Ruinous living is a theme in all her novels … But ruination is also the scene of patching up, as Fuller’s characters deploy their skills of brushing, mending, sewing, and painting. The same goes for parental manipulation. In Unsettled Ground, it is only when the big lie is revealed that renovation can commence.” Times Literary Supplement 

Unsettled Ground shares with Fuller’s previous works themes of closely guarded family secrets and homes built upon shaky foundations … Fuller displays a tenderness for her characters — with all the mistakes they make or lies they tell — as well as highlighting the precariousness of even the most fervently believed truths.” Financial Times

“A kind of photonegative English pastoral … Unsettled Ground examines where the fault lines lie — how a parent’s errors can reverberate through a life.” Sunday Telegraph

“Impressive … With sensitivity and intelligence, Fuller unpicks the relentless complexity of the modern world, in which mobile phones are connected to bank accounts are connected to central heating systems, and the hopeless poignancy of our longing for simplicity […] It is exactly this note of astringency, combined with Fuller’s skill at evoking sensations from the animal pleasures of sex to the misery of sleeping rough that gives the narrative its fierce energy.” — Christobel Kent, Guardian 

“Sometimes it’s the slowest growers that have the strongest roots. A former sculptor who began writing at the age of forty, Fuller’s been quietly cultivating a devoted following throughout the publication of three psychologically sharp novels. Her fourth novel is … a dark tale, no doubt — but if you’re a reader who lives for contemplative storytelling and perfectly wrought characters, this author is for you.” BookPage, Writers to Watch

“[A] stunning story … Touching on themes of love, friendship, and neighbours, [Unsettled Ground is] a powerful exploration of loneliness and isolation.” Independent

“[Fuller’s] absorbing novel unsettles us with its fine evocation of life’s fragility while grounding us in the healing powers of love, loyalty, and nature’s bounty.” Irish Independent 

“Claire Fuller has long been a writer expert on both character and relationships. The Unsettled in the title is well chosen — there’s an unsettling edge to the world Fuller creates, but it is one that slowly, skilfully draws the reader in, weaving a captivating tale of love, resilience, and survival.” Living Magazines

Unsettled Ground is another sly psychological treat from Claire Fuller, who just keeps on getting better with each book.” — Laline Paull, bestselling author of The Bees and The Ice

“Fuller’s prose is darkly elegant, her eye for character astute and humane, and her sense of place vividly atmospheric — here is a writer of great skill, sensitivity, and subtlety.” — Lucy Atkins, author of Magpie Lane

“Claire Fuller strikes the perfect balance between beauty and melancholy in this relevant and powerful exploration of isolation and life on the fringes of society.” — Clare Mackintosh, author of After the End 

“This fourth novel from the award-winning Fuller begins with a heartrending crisis for adult twins Julius and Jeanie Seeder … A gripping, unsettling narrative that ultimately offers a journey of resilience and hope, with unforgettable results.” Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Fuller paints a devastatingly haunting picture of abject poverty … This tale offers a remarkable peek into how the embrace of family can completely smother other aspects of life. Nevertheless, human ingenuity persists … It’s reassuring to think that reinvention is possible after all.” — Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Fuller is a master of building suspense … At once unsettling and hopeful, her book checks all the boxes of an engrossing mystery.” Kirkus Reviews

“In Unsettled Ground, Claire Fuller uncovers marginalized lives we don’t often see on the page in the rich and sensory prose that has gained her a strong following.” — Isabel Costello, The Literary Sofa


PRAISE FOR CLAIRE FULLER AND BITTER ORANGE

Longlist, International Dublin Literary Award

An Amazon.ca Best Book of the Year: Editors’ Choice

An Indie Next Pick

Bitter Orange echoes Penelope Lively’s Booker-winning Moon Tiger, Anita Brookner’s Look at Me, and Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger … Perfect heatwave reading … Fuller’s twists left me reeling.” Independent, FOUR-STAR REVIEW

“It is rare for me to put down a novel and then immediately consider rereading it to see what cleverness I might have missed. This time, though, I am tempted.” Sunday Times

“Page by page, Fuller enchants us with prose as thick as clotted cream, only for us to realize too late that she’s been ensnaring us at every turn.” Paris Review

“The atmosphere [Fuller] conjures creates its own choking sense of dread.” New York Times

“Fuller is an accomplished and serious writer who has the ability to implant interesting psychological dimensions into plotty, pacy narratives.” Observer

“All the expectations are set up and subverted in Claire Fuller’s atmospheric and carefully constructed third novel … There are echoes of L. P. Hartley’s The Go-Between and Ian McEwan’s Atonement in this set-up, as there are of Anita Brookney’s many stories of deceived spinsters.” Telegraph

“The story builds to a shocking finale, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable book with a well-paced plot and plenty of twists and turns.” Elle Canada


PRAISE FOR CLAIRE FULLER AND SWIMMING LESSONS

Chapters/Indigo February Staff Pick

An Amazon.com Best Book of February

A Goodreads 23 Highly Anticipated Book of 2017

A Book Riot 12 New Book for Winter 2017

A Bustle Most Anticipated Fictions Book of 2017

A Nylon 50 Books We Can’t Wait to Read

An Elle.com 25 Most Anticipated Books By Women

A BuzzFeed 27 Brilliant New Books You Need to Read This Winter

National Bestseller

“Fuller’s Swimming Lessons is a master-class in prose … Fuller’s words are so exact and efficient in their storytelling … Stunningly beautiful … The elegance Fuller musters in such deliberate language is a feat. But the story itself is pretty genius all on its own … A novel that stands out.” National Post

“Thrilling, captivating, sophisticated suspense.” Sunday Times

“Assured, multi-layered, well-crafted, compelling, excellent.” Mail on Sunday

“As she did in her first novel, Our Endless Numbered Days (2015), Fuller proves to be a master of temporal space, taking readers through flashbacks and epistolary chapters at a pace timed to create wonder and suspense. It’s her beautiful prose, though, that rounds this one out, as she delves deeply to examine the legacies of a flawed and passionate marriage.” Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Saving the best for last with revelations and surprises, Fuller’s well-crafted, intricate tale captures the strengths and shortcomings of ordinary people to show how healing is possible by confronting the darkest places.” Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW


PRAISE FOR CLAIRE FULLER AND OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS

Winner, Desmond Elliott Prize for Best First Novel

Finalist, American Booksellers Association Adult Debut Book of the Year Award

Finalist, Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award

Amazon Rising Star 2015 (U.K.)

“A post-apocalyptic debut with a twist. An obsessive survivalist abducts his daughter in this gripping family drama.” Guardian

“Fuller handles the tension masterfully in this grown-up thriller of a fairy tale, full of clues, questions, and intrigue.” Times

“Both shocking and subtle, brilliant and beautiful, a poised and elegant work that recalls the early work of Ian McEwan in the delicacy of its prose and the way that this is combined with some very dark undertones.” — Desmond Elliott Prize Jury

“This gripping tale will be well received by fans of survivalist fiction and psychological thrillers.” School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“The book is almost impossible to put down. Fuller weaves a hypnotic intensity of detail into her narrative that gives every lie the feel of truth.” Chicago Tribune

“Like Emma Donoghue’s Room, Fuller’s thoroughly immersive debut takes child kidnapping to a whole new level of disturbing.” Publishers Weekly

“Fuller’s compelling coming-of-age story, narrated from the perspective of Peggy’s return to civilization, is delivered in translucent prose … This is a memorable first work from a talent to watch.” — Kirkus Reviews