Eleanor Catton in conversation
Saturday 21stOctober, 6pm, The Poly Tickets: £8 and £5
Prizewinning author Eleanor Catton reflects on her career in writing and the influence of Macbeth, climate change, and social media on her most recent book, Birnham Wood.
Birnam Wood is on the move... Five years ago, Mira Bunting founded a guerrilla gardening group: Birnam Wood. An undeclared, unregulated, sometimes-criminal, sometimes-philanthropic gathering of friends, this activist collective plants crops wherever no one will notice, on the sides of roads, in forgotten parks, and neglected backyards. For years, the group has struggled to break even. Then Mira stumbles on an answer, a way to finally set the group up for the long term: a landslide has closed the Korowai Pass, cutting off the town of Thorndike. Natural disaster has created an opportunity, a sizable farm seemingly abandoned.
But Mira is not the only one interested in Thorndike. Robert Lemoine, the enigmatic American billionaire, has snatched it up to build his end-times bunker - or so he tells Mira when he catches her on the property. Intrigued by Mira, Birnam Wood, and their entrepreneurial spirit, he suggests they work this land. But can they trust him? And, as their ideals and ideologies are tested, can they trust each other?
A gripping psychological thriller from the Booker Prize-winning author of The Luminaries, Birnam Wood is Shakespearean in its wit, drama and immersion in character. A brilliantly constructed consideration of intentions, actions, and consequences, it is an unflinching examination of the human impulse to ensure our own survival.
What they say:
'Terrific. As a multilayered, character-driven thriller, it's as good as it gets. Ruth Rendell would have loved it. A beautifully textured work' Stephen King
'Phenomenal and utterly gripping, Birnam Wood has the sense of a literary writer setting herself free and having a bit of fun. I loved it.' Jessie Burton
'What I admired most in Birnam Wood was the way that the rapid violence of the climax rises, all of it, out of the deep, patient, infinitely nuanced character-work that comes before. If George Eliot had written a thriller, it might have been a bit like this.' Francis Spufford
'Catton is a generous writer... Her instinct is to give the reader more for their money - more plot, more context, more suspense, more social commentary, more character. Birnam Wood is a novel that contains multitudes' Sunday Times
'A fittingly explosive story, mysterious and gripping from start to finish... This is a deeply enjoyable, action-packed book' Financial Times
About Eleanor Catton:
Eleanor Catton MNZM (born 24 September 1985) is a Canadian-born New Zealand author. Her second novel, The Luminaries, won the 2013 Man Booker Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and was an international bestseller. As a screenwriter, she adapted The Luminaries for television and Jane Austen’s Emma for a feature film starring Anya Taylor-Joy and directed by Autumn de Wilde. She lives in Cambridge, England.