Tom Bullough

Published: 2 June 2016
Hardback, Demy HB
138x216mm, 304 pages
ISBN: 9781783781645

Other Editions


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Published: 6 April 2017
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 304 pages
ISBN: 9781783781669

Ebook Available


Addlands is the story of two generations of the Hamer family working the Funnon Farm. There is Idris, stubborn, strong, a man of the plough and the prayer-sheet, haunted by the war. Then comes Oliver, a near mythic giant bestriding the landscape, a fighter, a man of the hills as hard as the prehistoric stone. Then there is Etty, Oliver's mother, the centre of this close constellation, watching new technologies and old ways converge on the farm and on the life of her son.

Addlands is instantly a classic of rural British fiction. It is as vast and complex as a symphony but as pure and moving as a solo voice in an empty church.

As much a book about birdsong as it is about closing time brawls, Addlands' beauty is in the clear truth of its language and the sheer humane depth of its inquiries. It is a miraculous book which unfurls at the speed of life and bathes its reader in a rare golden light.

About the author

Image of Tom Bullough

Tom Bullough lives in the Brecon Beacons. Addlands is his fourth novel. More about the author


‘[Addlands] has an elegant structural conceit... The narrative is, to coin another genre, Elegiac-Georgic... At its heights the prose glimmers and shimmers.’ Stuart Kelly



‘[Addlands] is a character study of a place and time and how the people moving through it leave their strange marks on its surface.’ James Tookey

‘[A] pastoral paean to the remote, hard landscape of Radnorshire, Wales... Hanging over the never-changing farming cycle is modernity's threat to a community's ancient connection to a working landscape... Finely written [...] you'll be left yearning for the Welsh hills.’ Francesca Angelini

Addlands sensitively interweaves the fortunes of its protagonist and of the remote Radnorshire valley where he lives and farms, over seventy years’ Paul Binding, Best Books of 2016

Addlands is a gorgeous and painstaking evocation of the land and those who work it. Bullough's writing is a joy - disciplined, observant and musical, blissfully free of cliché’ Andrew Miller, author

Addlands is a truly ambitious mixture of social realism, folklore, Romanticism and imagistic paean to nature. To say it's Poldark meets Dylan Thomas is to undersell Bullough's clout as a serious writer, but in truth you could approach it either as a made-for-TV nourish romp or a cutting-edge work of art, and love it either way.’ Melissa Katsoulis

An absolutely splendid book... Bullough roots the reader in the Welsh landscape, which like all inhabited landscapes is a place in flux - he wants us to make it our home, to get a sense of its light and shadow and textures. Of this place he's made a world that is rich and absorbing. Every time I'd pick up Addlands to read, I did so with relish - to return to these pages is to come back to terrain so lushly imagined that it feels luxurious to spend time there.'’ John Darnielle, New York Times bestselling author

‘Addlands is a mesmerisingly beautiful novel, a haunting fusion of person, place and history’ Gerard Woodward, author

‘Ambitious in scope... the author's psychological understanding of his people is particularly impressive... some indication of the originality of Addlands lies in what the book is not. The galvanic exactness of its setting is not intended to contribute to any Welsh v English debate, such as one might expect in a story set in border country. Nor, for all the novel's depiction of cultural fluctuation, is there any discussion of Welshness as such. Rhyscog is at once unique and a paradigm for lives everywhere. Bullough views his subjects, as EM Forster wrote of Thomas Hardy, "from an enormous height"’ Paul Binding

‘An elegy to a world and way of life that's fading away... Bullough captures the beauty of the landscape and those who work it in clear, unfussy always elegant prose’ Lucy Scholes

‘An elegy to the changing countryside, and the ordinary heroism of those wedded to it, hard-working and hard-playing, and the inevitable losses and gains as time marches on.’ Anne Goodwin for blog

‘Bullough has written a novel of sublime attention and done so with great authority. Quietly passionate, dexterously evocative and engrossing, Addlands is indisputably relevant. It deserves to be recognised as such.’ Martha Sprackland

‘Bullough's densely and thrillingly written Addlands [...] traces the lives of a farming family on the Welsh borders through 70 years’ Peter Parker

‘Bullough's quiet insistence on the link between language and landscape crucially shapes the novel. His unapologetic use of the local dialect is a source of power, lending a rich and (to most readers) unfamiliar music to his prose.’ Jem Poster

‘Marrow-deep in its connection to place yet global in its thematic exploration and significance, Addlands does what literature should unstintingly aspire to do: make individual lives the essential stuff of epic. In crystalline, perfect, and stunning prose, Tom Bullough sites, convincingly and movingly, the entire history of these islands in a small section of Radnorshire. The presence of this book - in shops, in libraries, in homes, in the minds of its readers - will improve the broken, atomised world. It's an astonishing work of words’ Niall Griffiths, author

‘Slowly, the book began to weave its spell, with moments of wild beauty and its slowly-evolving portrait of post-war social and economic changes that began to transform life in these remote valleys... Deftly, [...] Bullough portrays how the distant world of modernity slowly intrudes [and] gives us a vision of a place steeped in its own culture and history... Addlands is about change as well as continuity; about loyalties and feuds; about belonging and outsiders. It is about the endurance of place, and an anthem to the changing countryside.’ Gerry Corden

‘Spanning 70 years on a remote hill farm in the lost Welst county of Radnorshire, Addlands is a quiet novel of enormous power [and] a haunting study of change and continuity... A quiet hymn to place, an exploration of the way in which our relationship to it makes us who we are.’ Melissa Harrison

‘The [characters] are realised so fully, and with such vitality, that there seems no doubt about the blood running through their veins, and although it is inevitably [...] a story that moves in the direction of loss, it never descends to hand-wringing... Bullough has a flair for alchemical descriptions, thrillingly repurposing adjectives and verbs... He also clearly savours the tang of his characters' tongues [with] occasional, gloriously unexpected sunbursts of humour.’ Stephanie Cross

‘The visionary intensity of Addlands is always thrilling, often moving. Bullough handles a complex narrative with seemingly effortless skill and bravely chronicles ancient patterns of living whose future is insecure. He is turning the Welsh-English border into his own magical kingdom’ Peter Conradi

‘This is the book we have been waiting for from Tom Bullough, a complete work of art, astonishingly beautiful, deeply moving and gripping from first to last. Addlands appears to be a tale of the Welsh borders, told through the battles, loves and losses of its Heathcliff hero, Oliver, but it is much more - the story of how the land made us all, and how the last century has changed us. Zola would have saluted it, and pressed copies on his friends’ Horatio Clare, author

‘This lyrical novel, set in rural Wales [...] captures the intertwining lives of ordinary people with the natural world... Written with a poet's eye for evocative detail, Bullough's powerful tale evokes the bleak, brooding beauty of his native landscape... [while] his liberal use of local words... take you into another world... Addlands is an immensely enjoyable and haunting story - but keep a handkerchief nearby.’ Rebecca Wallersteiner

‘Tom Bullough's story of one family's struggle in a world of continuity and change is beautifully imagined and exquisitely told - passionate, lyrical, profound, sad, and sometimes, too, when you least expect it, very funny’ Carys Davies, Frank O’Connor Award-Winning author

‘We all come from somewhere, and we carry that place within us all of our lives. Never before have I seen this quirk of existence so beautifully brought to the page as in Addlands, the lyrical and intense story of a family and where they are from.’ Book of the month

‘With a profound sense of place it traces the lives of three generations through change - the arrival of electricity, and later, second homers - and continuity.’ Summer books round up

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