“Eleanor Catton won the Booker Prize for her novel, The Luminaries. This is very different. It’s also set in her native New Zealand, but it’s a kind of environmentalist thriller. It’s extremely witty, extremely pacey, and incredibly well crafted. It’s about the fight over a particular patch of threatened ground in rural New Zealand. A group of guerrilla gardeners wants to use it for their organic ecological project but it’s also in the sights of miners and developers. The clash between them is executed with incredible panache, wit, surprise and suspense.
This is a book which on its back cover has an endorsement from none other than Stephen King, which I think tells you about the narrative drive that Eleanor Catton achieves here. It’s enormously enjoyable and, of course, it raises all of these profound questions about who should control the land and how it can be protected from environmental degradation.”
Best Political Novels of 2023, recommended by Boyd Tonkin