In the September issue of Prospect, we published a short story called “Infested” by Ross Raisin, a young writer from Yorkshire whose first novel (still to be published then) had already got the literary world buzzing with excitement. “Infested,” a macabre tale of revenge set in a pest control deparment, certainly showed talent. Cleverly plotted and written in a deceptively unshowy style, it announced the arrival of someone with a singular way of looking at things, and with the ability (by no means to be taken for granted among fiction writers) to use his imagination. Ross’s novel, God’s Own Country, has now been published by Viking, and, having just finished it, I can confirm that it justifies the hype. It really is a good book. Its narrator is a young farmer named Marsdyke who lives and works with his parents on the Yorkshire Moors, having been expelled from school. Marsdyke is an engaging, often likeable character, with a dour wit and a rich imagination, but he is also not quite all there. When a middle class family from London move into one of the neighbouring houses, he develops a crush on their teenage daughter, with ultimately calamitous consequences. The book, which has been widely compared to Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy (but also reminded me in places of Ian Banks’s The Wasp Factory and Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange), cleverly combines seemingly opposed qualities: it is creepy but also very funny; it is linguistically ambitious yet very accessible. What knits it together is the ingenious, highly original narrative voice that Raisin contrives for Marsdyke. Rarely can a novelist have made such effective use of local dialect. Words such as “glegging,” “gradely,” “viewsome” and “usselves” (some of which I suspect Raisin simply made up) recur throughout the narrative, as well as all manner of grammatical contortions. The result is that a unique linguistic world is created, with its own rules and conventions, and this acts as a corollary for Marsdyke’s basically deranged, but also oddly coherent, moral universe.