As Meat Loves Salt

Paperback | November 8, 2012

byMaria Mccann

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In the seventeenth century, the English Revolution is under way. The nation, seething with religious and political discontent, has erupted into violence and terror. Jacob Cullen and his fellow soldiers dream of rebuilding their lives when the fighting is over. But the shattering events of war will overtake them.A darkly erotic tale of passion and obsession, As Meat Loves Salt is a gripping portrait of England beset by war. It is also a moving portrait of a man on the brink of madness. Hailed as a masterpiece, this is a first novel by a most original new voice in fiction.A Harvest Original

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From the Publisher

In the seventeenth century, the English Revolution is under way. The nation, seething with religious and political discontent, has erupted into violence and terror. Jacob Cullen and his fellow soldiers dream of rebuilding their lives when the fighting is over. But the shattering events of war will overtake them.A darkly erotic tale of ...

From the Jacket

"This is an outstanding debut novel, a fresh and unusual achievement . . . As the title implies, it has all the dirt, stink, rasp and flavour of the time." - The Daily Telegraph (London)Torn in two by a vicious Civil War, Seventeenth Century England was the scene of extraordinary violence. Among the soldiers travelling across the count...

Maria McCann was born in Liverpool in 1956, and educated there and at the University of Durham. Since 1985 she has been a lecturer in English at Somerset College. As Meat Loves Salt is her first book.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:584 pages, 9.1 × 6 × 1 inPublished:November 8, 2012Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:015601226X

ISBN - 13:9780156012263

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Read from the Book

ONEScum RisesON THE MORNING we dragged the pond for Patience White, I bent so far down trying to see beneath the surface that my own face peered up at me, twisted and frowning. The three of us had churned up the water until it was half mud and spattered with flecks of weed before I knocked my foot against something loose and heavy that lolled about as we splashed. I tried to push it away from us, but too late.'It is she.' Izzy's lips were drawn back from his teeth.I shook my head. 'That's a log.''No, Jacob - here, here-'He seized my hand and plunged it in the water near his right leg. My heart fairly battered my ribs. I touched first his ankle, then wet cloth wound tight around something which moved.'I think that's an arm,' Izzy said quietly.'I think it is, Brother.' Feeling along it, I found cold slippery flesh, which I levered upwards to the air. It was certainly an arm, and at the end of it a small hand, wrinkled from the water. I heard My Lady, standing on the bank, cry out, 'Poor girl, poor girl!'Zebedee reached towards the freckled fingers. 'That's never - Jacob, do you not see?''Quiet.' I had no need of his nudging, for I knew what we had hold of. Ever since we had been ordered to drag the pond I had been schooling myself for this.'You forget the rope,' called Godfrey from the warm safety of the bank.I looked round and saw the end of it trailing in the water on the other side of the pond, while we floundered. 'Fetch it, can't you?' I asked him.He pursed his lips and did not move. A mere manservant like me must not speak thus peremptorily to a steward, though he were hanging by his fingernails from a cliff.'Be so kind as to fetch it, Godfrey,' put in the Mistress.Frowning, the steward took up the wet rope.The pond at Beaurepair had a runway sloping down into it on one side, made in past times to let beasts down into the water. It was coated with cracked greenish mud, which stank more foully than the pond itself. We grappled, splashing and squelching, to drag the thing to the bottom of this slope, then Zeb and I crawled to the top, our shirts and breeches clinging heavily to us. Having forgotten to take off my shoes, I felt them all silted up. Izzy, who lacked our strength, stayed in the water to adjust the ties.'Pull,' he called.Zeb and I seized an end of rope each and leant backwards. Our weight moved the body along by perhaps two feet.'Come, Jacob, you can do better than that,' called Sir John, as if we were practising some sport. I wondered how much wine he had got down his throat already.'Her clothes must be sodden,' said Godfrey. He came over and joined Zeb on the line, taking care to stand well away from my brother's dripping garments. 'Or she's caught on something-'There was a swirl in the water and a sucking noise. Izzy leapt back.The body sat up, breaking the surface. I saw a scalp smeared with stiffened hair. Then it plunged forwards as if drunk, sprawling full length in the shallower wa

Table of Contents

ContentsPart One1Scum Rises2Beating3Battles4Espousal5Over the EdgePart Two6Prince Rupert7Bad Angel8Mistress Lilly9God's Work10Golgotha11The Man of BonesPart Three12At Liberty13Eve of Nativity14An Incubus15Broken Men16Hope17Brothers and Sisters18The Uses of a Map19Possession20As Meat Loves Salt21Discoveries22What's Past Repair23Coney-CatchingPart Four24Of Snares25Things Broken26Things Called By Their Right Names27Things Not To Be Compelled28The Stuff of Jest29Well-Loved Games30Unsealing31Treasures

Editorial Reviews

The 17th-century English revolution serves as backdrop to this brilliant, ambitious epic, the story of a compelling antihero who struggles against his own violent tendencies to little avail. Jacob Cullen, the well-intentioned but volatile narrator, is forced to flee his wedding ceremony with bride Caro and brother Zebedee when he learns that he is about to be accused of a murder he rashly committed, perhaps in self-defense. Shocked by Jacob's brutality, Caro takes off with Zeb, and the bereft Jacob is forced to become a soldier in Cromwell's army after being rescued by a soldier named Christopher Ferris. When Christopher deserts, he brings Jacob with him, giving him shelter in his family home in London. Their friendship, already charged, slips gradually into clandestine romance, and the two become passionate lovers. The trajectory of their relationship shapes the second half of the novel, as does a utopian project undertaken by Christopher with Jacob's help. Disillusioned with society, Christopher attempts to cobble together a tiny, independent farming colony, an effort that brings out the bully in Jacob and strains their relationship as the authorities move in to break up the group. Jacob, meanwhile, edges closer to learning the fate of Caro and Zebedee. The first half of McCann's narrative is rather slow moving, but she does a superb job of mustering historical detail and atmosphere in the service of a stunning character portrait of the troubled but charismatic Jacob. The scope of the narrative, the unusual conceit and the resonant writing combine to make this a powerful, unusual debut.