In Tariq Goddard’s comedy of manners, Nature and Necessity, Petula Montague rules her adult children asonly a narcissistic doyenne could. This thorough, perceptive portrayal of a socialite whose calculating nature masks areluctance to confront herself is a wild study in character. Goddard features life in the English countryside withblistering effects.
“A hugely ambitious novel that recounts the inescapable dark sewers of the soul inhabited by the English Upper Middle Class.”
—Darren Ambrose, author of Film, Nihilism and The Restoration of Belief
This is a wonderfully in-depth journey into the lives of a remarkable family led by Petula, the ultimate, ruthless matriarch.
It is not just a journey in time, with family events leading to a compelling, affectionate and dramatic denouement, but a journey in prose, too. Because every sentence is a delight to read, crafted with an intricate yet intuitive design that makes the words themselves every bit as compelling as the plot.
For this excellent reason, every sentence deserves to be savored and many lingered over for their originality, inner meaning and insights into this wonderfully dysfunctional family.
Its portrayal of country life has an enviable authenticity which means it is surely cut from real life. But it is sculpted to have a special significance and theme that raises it above ordinary reality.
It is the story of a family, dark, deep, funny and, above all, likeable. I’m missing Petula and her children already.
—Pat Mills, creator of 2000 AD
A vast, immersive family saga, this book insists on the mud in blood, the wood in flesh – the astounding inextricability of the human animal from the earth in which it was formed. Goddard shows us that blood-relations are exactly that – bloody. This is nature writing at its most intensely observed, and ever mindful of our position within the colossal movements of the world. The ‘necessity’ of the title is inarguable.
—Niall Griffiths, author of Stump: A Novel
Tariq Goddard is good on houses and the people who inhabit them and the interplay between the inanimate and the humans who ascribe the inanimate with qualities that vary from the banal to the outré.
In this instance the humans are snobbish, social climbing Yorkshire bohemians, gruesome people whose mores, pretences and hierarchical delusions are pungently portrayed. Their children are unspeakable. Their aquaintances include a marvellous caricature of Ted Hughes and some deftly drawn theatre folk. The book is a stern warning not to venture north of the Humber – though it is of course possible that such monsters of self-preoccupation may be found in, say, Cranborne Chase.
—Jonathan Meades, author An Encyclopedia of Myself
“Quick reading yet richly detailed, Dostoyevskian in form, theme and scope, with a knack for narrative momentum and piquing itchy curiousity for the next page. Nature and Necessity is a proper novel.”
—Tristam Vivien Adams, the author of The Psychopath Factory
“An alluringly civilised prose style, which raises questions about what is normally considered civilised and why, unfolding like a horrific modern day Middlemarch…but beneath the surface ugliness lies a deep, quiet beauty, like a quality whiskey that makes your eyes water at first, Goddard’s novel has a rich afterglow.:
—LIT ALL OVER