Book Review: The Plot

The Plot
Bunting, Madeleine
Granta, 2009

Subtitled “A Biography of an English Acre” the general story of the book is a description of “the plot” where the author’s father invested his life’s work. It’s an interesting concept – take a somewhat random piece of land and look into it from a geographic, cultural, and historical perspective.

Through the book one learns a bit about the geography and ecological of the North Yorkshire Moors; the importance of Scottish drovers and the routes they took to the communities through which they passed; the few touches of “great” history to which this relatively remote piece of land may have felt the footsteps of the parties involved. Intertwined within it, however, is the much more recent story of an inspired sculptor who, as a schoolboy, felt an attachment to the place. Years later he acquired it, used the stones of the long abandoned structures to create a shelter and a memorial chapel to his heroes, and hosted gatherings of family and friends in his personal retreat when the mood struck him. As the family relationships began to break down and the success he aspired to never came, it became much more of a symbol to his daughter of him.

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