my name is mary. m.a.r.y.
my hair is the colour of milk."
Nell Leyshon's novel The Colour of Milk is the story of a year - 1830 - in the life of Mary, a farmer's daughter. I won't go into the plot at all for that would be to give far too much away; suffice to say the book is pastoral, though it's no rural idyll, confessional, but never self-indulgent, pared back to the bones, raw, intense, naively poetic, highly distinctive and quite compelling.
It stands out for the sheer economy of its prose, its near-perfect idiom, and for the significance of its subject matter and the themes which are worked out so skilfully in so few words. It's quite something.