At fifty-one years old, twins Jeanie and Julius still live with their mother, Dot, in a rural cottage that is their only protection against a modernizing England beyond. But when Dot dies unexpectedly, the world they've so carefully created begins to fall apart, startling secrets from their mother's past come to light and the twins must question everything they thought they knew of their family's history.
... gorgeous, specific descriptions abound throughout the book ... That the twins are resilient is clear early on, as they stoically face their mother's death. But it's their soft spots, their desires and wishes, their memories, and their musical talent...that slowly unfold throughout the narrative, giving readers glimpses at just how rich people's lives can be even when they're small, secluded, and private. Unsettled Ground is a terribly beautiful book, and although its premise may seem quiet, it is full of dramatic twists and turns right up until its moving, beautiful end.
... brilliant and sly ... Inkbourne is the village, and Fuller shrewdly deconstructs romantic notions about places like this, revealing a scene closer to Gothic horror ... Julius finds them a dilapidated trailer deep in the spinney. Some of Fuller’s best writing limns the history in these chalk ridges and forests ... Fuller’s cottage stayed in my dreams, the wood range glowing.
Fuller’s novels are ambitious ... Unsettled Ground takes on other singular existences with equal adroitness ... As in her other novels, Fuller explores what founding myths look like from other perspectives. Her understanding of the stories we tell ourselves in order to keep going, of the details we see but refuse to look at, allows her to produce complex, layered fictions that teach readers to be wary. Here, the treacheries of telling underpin a novel that makes the texture of poverty and homelessness palpable ... A sculptor by training, Fuller has a keen eye for how things fall apart.