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The Story of the Forest

On sale

6th June 2024

Price: £9.99

Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, 2023

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349014081

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‘Epic and marvellously entertaining… There’s a furious energy to the novel, which constantly moves forward even as it looks sorrowfully back’

‘Magnificent… I want to press a copy on everyone I know’

‘Epic, magnificent, beautiful… I couldn’t put it down’

‘Jewel-like clarity… exceptional’

‘Exquisite writing [and] a triumphant, elegant ending’

‘An intelligent family saga… ambitious and moving and funny’

It’s 1913 and a young, carefree and recklessly innocent girl, Mina, goes out into the forest on the edge of the Baltic sea and meets a gang of rowdy young men with revolution on their minds. It sounds like a fairy tale but it’s life.

The adventure leads to flight, emigration and a new land, a new language and the pursuit of idealism or happiness – in Liverpool. But what of the stories from the old country; how do they shape and form the next generations who have heard the well-worn tales?

From the flour mills of Latvia to Liverpool suburbia to post-war Soho, The Story of the Forest is about myths and memory and about how families adapt in order to survive. It is a story full of the humour and wisdom we have come to relish from this wonderful writer.

Orwell Prize for Political Fiction Award Ceremony – 22 June 2023


The Times
Grant makes her characters talk from the heart, as does Anna Cordell's versatile and haunting narration - Audiobook of the Week
Catherine Taylor, Financial Times
Epic and marvellously entertaining... Grant is a brilliant chronicler of the British-Jewish diaspora, as well as being a close observer of cities... The Story of the Forest hums with the boisterousness of family and community life... There's a furious energy to the novel, which constantly moves forward even as it looks sorrowfully back
The Times
[A] wise, sad and sometimes humorous family saga... Grant explores how families build their identity on stories and myths that mutate in the telling. It is fascinating to observe one family's changing domestic experiences and expectations in the 20th century, felt more keenly as their relatives back in the east experiences the horrors of war and dictatorship
Good Housekeeping
An epic story of a young woman coming of age in the early 20th century, set against the backdrop of the tumultuous events happening in Europe at the time. It's such a joy to be in the hands of an assured, vivid storyteller like Grant
Alex Clark, Observer
Like all good stories, it teems with false starts, mysterious clues and dead ends... Grant's particular gift is for the arresting scene that blends menace with comedy
Clare Clark, Guardian
Tracing the arc of Mina's life over the full span of the 20th century, The Story of the Forest defies expectation. It is a sprawling family epic elegantly contained... a story of Jewish assimilation from the margins of Jewish history... sharp observation tempered with humour and tenderness... the characters themselves spring from these pages, vividly, unforgettably alive
Joan Bakewell
A major achievement... as fine as anything Linda Grant has written... maybe excelling them all
Reverend Richard Coles
Jewel-like clarity... exceptional
David Morrissey
What an amazing epic, fascinating and moving story. The sections set in Liverpool really spoke to me having grown up there, but I loved the London chapters. Vivid storytelling with complex and colourful characters. I thought it was spectacular.
Nigella Lawson
I'm not sure it could ever be possible to do justice to this magnificent novel in a few words: the flawless writing, wonderfully flawed characters, its epic sweep combined with a warm immediacy, indeed every page of it just bowled me over completely. I'm in awe, I'm charmed, and I want to press a copy on everyone I know.
Tessa Hadley
Such an intelligent family saga, ambitious and moving and funny too... I loved it
The tale is told with humour and sensitivity... Grant's own Eastern European roots in a culture with few written records and a strong tradition of storytelling informs the narrative
Stephen Bush, Financial Times
I devoured The Story of the Forest, an engrossing family saga that spans Latvia to Liverpool and the best part of a century... a truly terrific book - with a beautiful cover
Philippa Perry
Epic, magnificent, beautiful. A perfect work of art and craft and such a good story... I felt I was living it. I couldn't put it down.
Tom Payne, Mail on Sunday
[A] smartly compressed dynastic novel... Grant's exquisite writing shows us the Latvian immigrants who adapted to Liverpool, then London, as well as offering grainy glimpses of those who stayed in Riga, reviewing the whole saga in a triumphant, elegant ending with never a word of schmaltz