Penguin Decades bring you the novels that helped shape modern Britain. When they were published, some were bestsellers, some were considered scandalous, and others were simply misunderstood. All represent their time and helped define their generation, while today each is considered a landmark work of storytelling.
J. L. Carr's A Month in the Country was first published in 1980. Tom Birkin, a damaged survivor of World War One, is spending the summer uncovering a huge medieval wall-painting in the village church of Oxgodby. Joined by another veteran, employed to look for a grave outside the churchyard, he uncovers old secrets that bear on his experiences of conflict.
J.L. Carr was born in Thirsk, Yorkshire, in 1912. For many years he was headmaster of a primary school in Kettering until he left in 1967 to set up a small publishing imprint called the Quince Tree Press and to write fiction - he published eight novels altogether including A Month in the Country (1980), which won the Guardian Fiction Prize, and The Battle of Pollock's Crossing (1985), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He died in 1994.