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Devoured

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1973. Swallow's Farmhouse in deep, rural Norfolk is home to Your People, a commune of free-thinkers and poets seeking a better way. But beneath the veneer of a nurturing, alternative lifestyle, an atmosphere of jealousy and threat is pushing utopia towards the brink of its inevitable collapse. Raising herself amidst the chaos is a twelve year old survivor, desperately preoc 1973. Swallow's Farmhouse in deep, rural Norfolk is home to Your People, a commune of free-thinkers and poets seeking a better way. But beneath the veneer of a nurturing, alternative lifestyle, an atmosphere of jealousy and threat is pushing utopia towards the brink of its inevitable collapse. Raising herself amidst the chaos is a twelve year old survivor, desperately preoccupied with her transition into womanhood. With her mute sister, beloved dog and the re-defining force of her emerging appetites, she marches resolutely towards her future, venturing - with hilarious and horrifying results - through the minefield of an adult world built on hypocrisy and misplaced ideals.


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1973. Swallow's Farmhouse in deep, rural Norfolk is home to Your People, a commune of free-thinkers and poets seeking a better way. But beneath the veneer of a nurturing, alternative lifestyle, an atmosphere of jealousy and threat is pushing utopia towards the brink of its inevitable collapse. Raising herself amidst the chaos is a twelve year old survivor, desperately preoc 1973. Swallow's Farmhouse in deep, rural Norfolk is home to Your People, a commune of free-thinkers and poets seeking a better way. But beneath the veneer of a nurturing, alternative lifestyle, an atmosphere of jealousy and threat is pushing utopia towards the brink of its inevitable collapse. Raising herself amidst the chaos is a twelve year old survivor, desperately preoccupied with her transition into womanhood. With her mute sister, beloved dog and the re-defining force of her emerging appetites, she marches resolutely towards her future, venturing - with hilarious and horrifying results - through the minefield of an adult world built on hypocrisy and misplaced ideals.

46 review for Devoured

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    A commune, rural England, a young girl coming of age... You know those books where the premise sounds *literally* perfect for you, and then the execution just doesn’t really do it for you? This is one of those books for me. There was a point early on where I wasn’t even sure I wanted to carry on, but I’m glad I finished it. I did love the story, but I just didn’t gel with the way it was told. This is definitely written in a style that takes a while to get used to. Some will love it straight away, A commune, rural England, a young girl coming of age... You know those books where the premise sounds *literally* perfect for you, and then the execution just doesn’t really do it for you? This is one of those books for me. There was a point early on where I wasn’t even sure I wanted to carry on, but I’m glad I finished it. I did love the story, but I just didn’t gel with the way it was told. This is definitely written in a style that takes a while to get used to. Some will love it straight away, and others will feel like they are wading through black treacle in trying to read it. It’s written in second person, but in a preteen's stream of consciousness style. Reminded me very much of both ‘A Girl is a Half Formed Thing’ and ‘Peach’ in style, but was harder to consume as this novel is twice the length. By the end I felt I had a good grasp of the characters, but I can’t say I ever felt them fully formed and couldn’t truly picture this commune in my mind until the last quarter of the novel. Stephen Fry pegs it as ‘equal parts hilarious and terrifying’ and I find I quite agree with this assessment. Trigger warnings for foul language, sexual and emotional abuse, and just generally a pretty toxic environment to raise children in. The humour comes from just how very deluded and hopeless these people are, despite the simplest and possibly purest of intentions. There’s also some haphazardly noted recipes jotted throughout giving it a little ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ vibe which, ironically, are some of the easiest parts to follow. Essentially, Devoured is a compellingly experimental novel about the minefield that is youth, the conflicts of community and ultimately the need for belonging. The bones of this story will appeal to many, but beware that the muddied writing style may make for a frustrating read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nose in a book (Kate)

    This is a strange tale told in a strange way, and I loved it. Sometimes a bit of originality is just what I hanker for. It’s the tale of a commune in 1970s Norfolk. Beth owns a big farmhouse, which she has opened up to a raggedy crew of hippies from around the UK and the US. She and her partner are raising their two daughters in true New Age style: no school, treated like adults when it comes to chores and conversation topics, encouraged to be artistic in every way. The novel is told from the pers This is a strange tale told in a strange way, and I loved it. Sometimes a bit of originality is just what I hanker for. It’s the tale of a commune in 1970s Norfolk. Beth owns a big farmhouse, which she has opened up to a raggedy crew of hippies from around the UK and the US. She and her partner are raising their two daughters in true New Age style: no school, treated like adults when it comes to chores and conversation topics, encouraged to be artistic in every way. The novel is told from the perspective of the older daughter, but it is not narrated by her. The narration is in the 2nd person, addressing the older daughter. It’s also told in mostly incomplete sentences, a sort of stream of consciousness. It’s never quite clear if this is meant to be the 12-year-old girl addressing herself from the future or an unusual take on the omniscient narrator. That description risks making the book sound a little tough to read, and it’s not at all. It was a delight reading this. I particularly love the recipes peppered through the narrative, mostly adaptations of Elizabeth David, perfectly reflecting Beth’s middle-class status while she and her friends play-act at being poor artists who scrimp and save. Read my full review: http://www.noseinabook.co.uk/2018/05/...

  3. 3 out of 5

    Barry

    I struggled a little bit to start with - the narration being stream of consciousness from a pubescent girl, which is a jarringly unusual voice (being way more convincing than the superficial attempts in YA pulp) - but am very glad I persevered and attuned to this.

  4. 3 out of 5

    Lorid

    Wow! Hard to understand at the beginning but a very powerfully written story. I can’t say I loved the story but I am glad I read it!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Snooks McDermott

  6. 5 out of 5

    Luisa

  7. 3 out of 5

    Melanie Thomas

  8. 3 out of 5

    Steph Mckenna

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pete

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brunhild

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Willitts

  12. 3 out of 5

    Lucinda

  13. 3 out of 5

    DB9

  14. 3 out of 5

    Joe Cushley

  15. 5 out of 5

    Pilar

  16. 3 out of 5

    Harriet Block

  17. 3 out of 5

    Sara

  18. 5 out of 5

    Styron15

  19. 3 out of 5

    Laura

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  21. 3 out of 5

    Nicola

  22. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Urges

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tânia

  24. 4 out of 5

    Betty Lou Bat

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lesley 129

  26. 3 out of 5

    Mike Romard

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ariel Goldblatt

  28. 3 out of 5

    Amy

  29. 4 out of 5

    John Paul Thompson

  30. 4 out of 5

    David Mitchell

  31. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

  32. 4 out of 5

    Anni Kääriä

  33. 3 out of 5

    Josh Rickayzen

  34. 4 out of 5

    Lee Heffner

  35. 5 out of 5

    Ariel Johnson

  36. 5 out of 5

    Terry O'Connor

  37. 3 out of 5

    Becca

  38. 5 out of 5

    Graham Clarke

  39. 5 out of 5

    Anna Finnon

  40. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

  41. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  42. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Simmons

  43. 3 out of 5

    Nitaeschmidt

  44. 5 out of 5

    Bethanie

  45. 4 out of 5

    Kab

  46. 5 out of 5

    apryl

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