A Novel
Paul Kingsnorth

One of Commonweal's Top Books of 2017

“[Written] with unnerving smoothness and lyricism. . . . Defining modernist characters such as Samuel Beckett’s The Unnameable, the chattering brain in a vat, and the self-limning mind of James Joyce’s wanderer Leopold Bloom figure as literary relations of Kingsnorth’s Buckmaster. . . . Beast is a cautionary fable for everyone who might hope to evade our current historical impasse by sheer bad faith or by extremes of primitivism, self-seeking or abstraction. It leads readers away from optimism and realism alike, deeper into a new scrutiny of the stories by which we try to make our way.”San Francisco Chronicle

About the Book

The stunning new novel from the prizewinning author of The Wake
“Come to a place like this . . . and you will understand soon enough that this world is a great animal, alive and breathing.”
Beast plunges you into the world of Edward Buckmaster, a man alone on an empty moor in the west of England. What he has left behind we don’t yet know. What he faces is an existential battle with himself, the elements, and something he begins to see in the margins of his vision: some creature that is tracking him, the pursuit of which will become an obsession.

This short, shocking, and exhilarating novel is a vivid exploration of isolation, courage, and the search for truth that continues the story set one thousand years earlier in Paul Kingsnorth’s bravura debut novel, The Wake. It extends that book’s promise and confirms Kingsnorth as one of our most daring and rewarding contemporary writers.

Additional Reviews

“Wild and spectacular.”The Boston Globe

Beast cements Kingsnorth’s reputation as a furiously gifted writer. . . . Like the huge creature that haunts its pages, Beast has an uncanny power. . . . With its echoes of Kafka and of dread-filled, myth-driven tales like John Gardner’s Grendel, Kingsnorth’s Beast is as cryptic as it is thrilling.”The Washington Post

“On its own, [Beast] is a taut, thrilling and mystifying narrative. Taken in tandem with The Wake, it forms a powerful meditation on violence, society and the nature of exile. Kingsnorth’s novel is relentless and philosophical, and this uneasy pairing gives it an abundance of raw power.”Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“Both The Wake and Beast are fine novels whose challenging prose is counterbalanced by striking, archetypal imagery, rich characterization, and solid storytelling.”Slate

“Kingsnorth is becoming an existential David Mitchell: a versatile weaver of the seemingly unconnected into a tapestry realer than reality.”Vulture

“Kingsnorth’s writing can be taken as a hopeful message from collective human history about persisting amid a semi-permanent state of catastrophe. . . . What Beast proffers is access to the minds and emotional lives of characters who endure.”The Atlantic

“Spare and intense. . . . Kingsnorth searches beyond current civilization to ask how we might live instead. He doesn't have answers, and his anguish is haunting.”Shelf Awareness

“Kingsnorth follows up The Wake with another daring novel. . . . The novel richly rewards those who accept its demands with an impressionistic emotional wallop.”Publishers Weekly

“This follow up to [The] Wake does not disappoint. Kingsnorth’s writing continues to mirror his protagonists, feral and unpredictable. Readers who enjoy the darkness of Cormac McCarthy’s novels will find much to admire in this trilogy.”Library Journal

“Engrossing and impressive.”BOMB Magazine

“Daunting but rewarding, this dazzling work will burnish Kingsnorth’s already luminous reputation.”Booklist, starred review

“A tour de force, reminiscent of the best of John Fowles and David Mitchell.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The true enjoyment in the book the author’s beat-by-beat recollection of Buckmaster’s slow, steady, extremely intense decline into another state of being. . . . Buckmaster’s downward spiral is dense and taxing, rife with wild leaps of emotion Kingsnorth is laudably able to pass directly on to the reader.”The East Bay Review

“[Beast] is the sort of novel that sinks in deep, making a home for itself in your psyche.”Washington Independent Review of Books