Black Car Burning

Black Car Burning

Summary

The debut novel from the brilliant and award-winning poet Helen Mort

Alexa is a police community support officer whose world feels unstable.

Caron, Alexa’s girlfriend, is pushing her away and pushing herself even harder. A climber, she fixates on a brutal route. Leigh, who works at a local gear shop, watches Caron climb and feels complicit.

Meanwhile, an ex-police officer compulsively revisits the April day in 1989 that changed his life forever. Trapped in his memories of the disaster, he tracks the Hillsborough inquests, questioning everything.

As the young women negotiate Sheffield’s violent inheritance, the rock faces of Stanage and their relationships with each other, Mort stunningly grounds these journeys of trust and trauma, fear and falling, in the texture of the urban and natural terrain underfoot.

'A beautifully accomplished debut...a deeply felt work of loss, time and healing' Guardian

‘Helen Mort is unmistakably one of the most brilliant poets of her generation; Black Car Burning shows her to be a remarkable novelist’ Robert Macfarlane

Reviews

  • A love letter to [Mort's] home city of Sheffield... Politics and landscape are fiercely intertwined in the history of South Yorkshire, and Mort now demonstrates that she can write as assuredly on both subjects in novel form as in her poetry... Mort, in a beautifully accomplished debut, has blended a rich alloy: a deeply felt work of loss, time and healing
    Catherine Taylor, The Guardian

About the author

Helen Mort

Helen Mort was born in Sheffield in 1985, and grew up in nearby Chesterfield. Five times winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award, she received an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and won the Manchester Young Writer Prize in 2008. Her first collection, Division Street (2013), was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and Costa Poetry Award, and won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. In 2014, she was named as a 'Next Generation Poet', the prestigious accolade announced only once every ten years, recognising the 20 most exciting new poets from the UK and Ireland. No Map Could Show Them (2016), her second collection, about women and mountaineering, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Helen has been the Wordsworth Trust Poet in Residence and the Derbyshire Poet Laureate and was named one of the RSL's 40 under 40 Fellows in 2018. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and lives in Sheffield. Black Car Burning was her first novel, and A Line Above the Sky is her first work of narrative memoir.
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