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Gone to Earth

Mary Webb

Book Overview: 

“Gone to Earth” is the cry of fox hunters as the fox takes to its den and they lose the chase. Here, Mary Webb tells the story of Hazel Woodus whose understanding of her half tame fox cub contrasts with her misunderstanding of humanity. She is pursued by two very different men, a Gentleman Farmer and the local Minister. Mary Webb’s writing is sometimes compared to that of Thomas Hardy, her descriptions of nature are vivid and her view of love and life is touched with tragedy.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Edward was deep in thought. The cornet whispered to Hazel:

'Making up next Sunday's sermon!'

But Edward turned round disconcertingly.

'As it's on your way, why not come to tea with mother? I might be out, but you wouldn't mind that?'

'Eh, but I should! I dunna want to talk to an old lady!'

'I'll stop at home,' then, he replied, very much amused, and with a look of quiet triumph at the cornet. 'Which day?'

'Wednesday week's the first.'

'Come Wednesday, then.'

'What'll the old sleepy lady say?'

'My mother,' he said with dignity, 'will approve of anything I think right.'

But his heart misgave. So far he had only 'thought right' what her conventions approved. He had seldom acted on his own initiative. She therefore had a phrase, 'Dear Edward is always right.'. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I so loved this novel and "sipped" it slowly to
savor it. It is so lovely and lyrical and unusual.
If you have a great feeling for the natural world,
this book is highly recommended for you.

How has Mary Webb flown under the radar for so many years? Is she the literary world's best-kept secret? Her writing displays a discerning eye and a sensitive spirit. She sees the big picture; she describes the finest details. There are no wasted words. In my opinion, Mary Webb should be ranked r...more

This was a poetically lyrical and intense novel.

In many ways the main characters are more like archetypes than the sort of individuals we would ever encounter in the everyday world. Hazel the heroine is a child of Nature - though not Nature in its less gentle aspect. Reddin the local squire who p...more

A book written in the first person with a rural Shropshire dialect. As the story progresses, it does so with an impending sense of doom and tragedy for the main character, Hazel. The observations of the natural world and the consideration of the treatment of animals and their feelings are strongl...more

Not quite as magical and poetical a book as "Precious Bane" but still special and confirming Mary Webb as one of my newly discovered favourite authors. The story is very much a parallel to "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" - the innocent gypsy girl, Hazel, torn between the good and honourable parson wh...more

Hard work, can't take the melodrama.

How can I have lived 51 years without ever hearing of this marvelous writer? She is the missing link between Thomas Hardy and John Cowper Powys, a visionary turning her rapt attention on wild things, the human mind, and the numberless tendrils that connect them. Very much in the spirit of the Bro...more

A strange and wondrous novel, reminiscent of the Brontes and Hardy, with the fiery, Biblical prose of early Cormac McCarthy.

This is the first Mary Webb novel that I have read and I am left wondering how I have never heard of her before. The writing was so good, and such a strong cast of characters as you could hope to find in a novel, especially the main character, Hazel Woodus. Hazel is innocence personified, an inno...more

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