BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture

Led by James Naughtie, a group of readers talk to acclaimed authors about their best-known novels


Ross Raisin - God's Own Country

May 6th, 2012

Episode 338 of 438 episodes

Ross Raisin is a young writer who won much praise for his debut novel God's Own Country in 2008. He discusses the book with James Naughtie and a group of readers. It's the story of Sam Marsdyke who's a troubled nineteen year old young man living on a remote farm in the North Yorkshire Moors. It's a place of beauty and Sam resents the incomers, be they the ramblers he spies upon, or the new neighbours who've just moved up from London. Sam is one of contemporary fiction's unforgettable characters; thanks largely to his use of the local dialect - words like beltenger, raggald or snitter. But these words don't get in the way of the reading, and part of the success of Sam's language is its confirmation of his isolation. There's an ambiguity for the reader about whether Sam's early mishaps in the novel are intentional, such as the neighbour's boy getting food poisoning from Sam's welcoming gift of hand picked mushrooms. But Ross Raisin says that for him, as Sam's creator, there's no ambiguity. Later in the novel, Sam's demise is swift, dark and frightening; and it's Ross's achievement that the reader still feels sympathy for him. Producer : Dymphna Flynn June's Bookclub choice : The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory.

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