Greetings from Slightly Foxed. Things are just starting to quieten down at SF HQ after the initial flurry of orders thanks to the publication of this quarter’s offerings: Slightly Foxed Issue No. 78, Luke Jennings’s Blood Knots and Adrian Bell’s farming memoir, Corduroy. This is our fourth edition of Corduroy, its second run as a Plain Foxed Edition, and its enduring popularity has sent us off in search of some other countryside classics.
Having scoured the Slightly Foxed bookshelves for inspiration, we found ourselves drawn to the small gem that is The Blue Field, the last volume in John Moore’s Brensham trilogy. It is 1948 and the aftermath of the war signals the end of a particular way of rural life. In the touching, and often hilarious, stories of one man, William Hart, Moore captures a very English sense of resistance and resilience. Hart is a master wagon-maker, reveller and brewer of parsnip wine; a steadfast defender of small liberties; the grower of the finest Brussels sprouts in England and a self-professed descendant of Shakespeare. And he’s the man responsible for the field of linseed, grown in defiance of the War Agricultural Executive Committee, which flowers one summer morning on Brensham Hill.
‘If the first two books of the trilogy are portraits of places – Elmbury, a proxy for Tewkesbury, Moore’s birthplace; and Brensham, an amalgam of nearby villages’, observes author Sarah Perry in her preface to our Slightly Foxed Edition, ‘The Blue Field is largely a portrait of a man . . . This wild, intractable, turbulent man is William Hart, farmer of the blue field’. Please read on for an extract from The Blue Field, as well as our selection of recommended reads for the summer.
With best wishes, as always, from the SF office staff
Hattie, Jess & Jemima