Books

How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the F.A. Cup

J.L. Carr

'One of the greatest football novels ever written and a comic masterpiece' DJ Taylor' DJ Taylor

'But is this story believable? Ah, it all depends upon whether you want it to believe it.' J.L. Carr

In their new all-buttercup-yellow-stripe, Steeple Sinderby Wanderers, who usually feel lucky when their pitch is above water-level, are England's most obscure team. This uncategorizable, surreal and extremely funny novel is the story of how they start the season by ravaging the Fenland League and end it by going all the way to Wembley.

Told through unreliable recollection, florid local newspaper coverage and bizarre committee minutes, How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the F.A. Cup is both entertaining and moving. There will never be players again like Alex Slingsby, Sid 'the Shooting Star' Swift and the immortal milkman-turned-goalkeeper, Monkey Tonks.

A Month in the Country

J.L. Carr

A haunting novel about art and its power to heal, J. L. Carr's A Month in the Country published as a Penguin Essential for the first time.

'That night, for the first time during many months, I slept like the dead and, next morning, awoke very early.'

One summer, just after the Great War, Tom Birkin, a demobbed soldier, arrives in the village of Oxgodby. He has been invited to uncover and restore a medieval wall painting in the local church. At the same time, Charles Moon - a fellow damaged survivor of the war - has been asked to locate the grave of a village ancestor. As these two outsiders go about their work of recovery, they form a bond, but they also stir up long dormant passions within the village. What Berkin discovers here will stay with him for the rest of his life . . .

A Month in the Country

J.L. Carr (and others)

A sensitive portrayal of the healing process that took place in the aftermath of the First World War, J.L. Carr's A Month in the Country includes an introduction by Penelope Fitzgerald, author of Offshore, in Penguin Modern Classics.

A damaged survivor of the First World War, Tom Birkin finds refuge in the quiet village church of Oxgodby where he is to spend the summer uncovering a huge medieval wall-painting. Immersed in the peace and beauty of the countryside and the unchanging rhythms of village life he experiences a sense of renewal and belief in the future. Now an old man, Birkin looks back on the idyllic summer of 1920, remembering a vanished place of blissful calm, untouched by change, a precious moment he has carried with him through the disappointments of the years. Adapted into a 1987 film starring Colin Firth, Natasha Richardson and Kenneth Branagh, A Month in the Country traces the slow revival of the primeval rhythms of life so cruelly disorientated by the Great War

Joseph Lloyd Carr (1912-1994) attended the village school at Carlton Miniott in the North Riding and Castleford Secondary School. A head teacher, publisher and novelist, his books include A Day in Summer (1964); The Harpole Report (1972); A Month in the Country (1980), which won the Guardian Fiction prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; The Battle of Pollock's Crossing (1985), which was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize; What Hetty Did (1988) and Harpole and Foxberrow, General Publishers (1992).

If you enjoyed A Month in the Country, you might like Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Unlike anything else in modern English literature'
D.J. Taylor, Spectator

Biography

James Lloyd Carr, born 1912, attended the village school at Carlton Miniott in the North Riding and Castleford Secondary School. He died in Northamptonshire in 1994. His novel A Month in the Country won the Guardian Fiction Prize, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and made into a memorable film.