Synopses & Reviews
From the author of Our Endless Numbered Days, Swimming Lessons, and Bitter Orange comes a brilliant novel about an unusual family held together by a string of lies, a small town with too many questions, and a sudden death that threatens to undo them all.
At fifty-one years old, twins Jeanie and Julius still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation in the English countryside. The cottage they have shared their entire lives is their only protection against the modernizing world around them. Inside its walls, they make music, and in its garden, they grow everything they need to survive. To an outsider, it looks like poverty; to them, it is home.
But when Dot dies unexpectedly, the world they’ve so carefully created begins to fall apart. The cottage they love, and the security it offered, is taken back by their landlord, exposing the twins to harsh truths and even harsher realities. Seeing a new future, Julius becomes torn between the loyalty he feels towards his sister and his desire for independence, while Jeanie struggles to find work and a home for them both. And just when it seems there might be a way forward, a series of startling secrets from their mother’s past come to the surface, forcing the twins to question who they are, and everything they know of their family’s history.
In this stunning novel, award-winning author Claire Fuller masterfully builds a tale of sacrifice and hope, of homelessness and hardship, of love and survival, in which two marginalized and remarkable people uncover long-held family secrets and, in their own way, repair, recover, and begin again.
"So sharply, so utterly brilliant that I found myself holding my breath while reading, dazzled by Fuller’s mastery and precision." Lauren Groff, author of Florida
"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
"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 neighbors, 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
Watch the Powell’s virtual event with Claire Fuller and Ron Rash!
About the Author
Claire Fuller was born in Oxfordshire, England, in 1967. She has written three novels: Our Endless Numbered Days, which won the Desmond Elliott Prize; Swimming Lessons; and Bitter Orange. She has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester and lives in Hampshire with her husband and two children.
Claire Fuller on PowellsBooks.Blog
is about 51-year-old twins, Jeanie and Julius, who still live with their mother Dot in rural isolation and relative poverty in the English countryside. They don’t have a bank account, don’t have any qualifications, don’t own a car, and have very little access to technology...