Her first novel, As Meat Loves Salt, was released in 2001. The story focuses on the relationship of two men, Jacob Cullen and Christopher Ferris, and is set during the English Civil War. They desert their posts in Cromwell’s New Model Army to establish a farming commune in the countryside. The novel was well received by readers and critics and has recently been championed by Orange Prize winner Lionel Shriver, but failed to attract what one could call widespread attention.
McCann also contributed a short story titled Minimal to the anthology New Writing 12 published by the British Council in 2005.
Her second novel, The Wilding, was published in February 2010. Set in England in the 1670s, it is the story of a young cider-presser, Jonathan Dymond, his dark family secrets, and the young beggar woman he tries to help.
If ever a book made you question yourself, As Meat Loves Salt is the one. The main character is a sociopath in 17th century England, and yet when he falls in love you can´t help but root for him. A historical epic in the grandest sense of the word, and a wonderful gay love story - up until the jaw-dropping ending. You´ll close the book with eyes and mouth wide. --Eric ArvinFurther Readings:
As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann
Paperback: 565 pages
Publisher: Harvest Books; 1 edition (January 7, 2003)
Amazon: As Meat Loves Salt
Amazon Kindle: As Meat Loves Salt
Transplant Othello to the tumult of a country in social and political flux and en route to regicide -- England in the 1640s -- and render him uncertain about his sexuality, and you have the makings of Jacob Cullen, one of the most commanding characters in contemporary writing. As the book opens, Jacob is an educated, vigorous and dauntingly strong manservant in a Royalist household, who has begun to imbibe god-fearing revolutionary pamphlets. He is on the brink of marriage to his virginal sweetheart, but is unsure of his emotional needs, and in possession of a boiling point he reaches all too often. He is also, we learn, fearful of being identified as the murderer of a local boy, and a potential nemesis arrives on the very day of his wedding feast, prompting the first of a series of impetuous, temper-fuelled bad decisions: Jacob flees, dragging his new wife and one of his brothers with him. Thereafter he proceeds to wreak havoc on the lives of others but mostly on his own fortunes - as a servant, a husband, a brother, a soldier, and, critically, as friend, co-conspirator and lover of another man disaffected by the lurch from freedom to tyranny now apparent in Cromwell's New Model Army. To step outside the law, outside the state, outside the established and natural order of things seems to supply the only prospect of happiness... All this makes for a truly heady historical narrative: gripping, unusual, packed with heady ingredients - truly, we are in a world turned upside down by political fervour, inflammatory pamphleteering, social flux, grisly combat, apocalyptically evangelical Christianity, sexual confusion, and murder most foul...The earthy, tangy quality of McCann's Republican-style prose, infused with a fresh twentieth-century sensibility, makes the whole entirely accessible and irresistible. Is this then perhaps the first great novel of the English Revolution?
More Spotlights at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Lists/Gay Novels
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