Sarah Hall, photo credit: Richard Thwaites  


'Hall evokes her landscapes with bewitchingly vivid prose. Her writing is gutteral and visceral, and her characters are raw and sinewy . . . Hall is a writer of both rare vision and talent.'
- Sunday Times

The Wolf Border
Sarah Hall

Cumbria Life Culture Award – Writer of the Year 2015
Mumsnet Book of the Month selection – March 2016

'It’s not often she dreams about them. During the day they are elusive, keeping to the tall grass of the Reservation, disappearing from the den site ... Their vanishing acts have been perfected. At night they come back.'

For almost a decade Rachel Caine has turned her back on home, kept distant by family disputes and her work monitoring wolves on an Idaho reservation. But now, summoned by the eccentric Earl of Annerdale and his controversial scheme to reintroduce the Grey Wolf to the English countryside, she is back in the peat and wet light of the Lake District.

The earl’s project harks back to an ancient idyll of untamed British wilderness – though Rachel must contend with modern-day concessions to health and safety, public outrage and political gain - and the return of the Grey after hundreds of years coincides with her own regeneration: impending motherhood, and reconciliation with her estranged family.

The Wolf Border investigates the fundamental nature of wilderness and wildness, both animal and human. It seeks to understand the most obsessive aspects of humanity: sex, love, and conflict; the desire to find answers to the question of our existence; those complex systems that govern the most superior creature on earth.

The Wolf Border, Sarah Hall’s fifth novel, is certain to confirm her as a global force at the vanguard of contemporary fiction. It is the work of a young novelist hitting full maturity.

Paperback publication date: 3rd March 2016

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'It is a compelling, psychological drama ... [Hall] has a golden touch, texturing her pages with rich metaphor and lyrical prose.' Economist

'What an achievement – so vivid, so visceral, so vital … Every time I picked it up, I struggled to put it down again.' Val McDermid

'...the beautifully written tale of a loner’s journey into motherhood as she oversees the reintroduction of wolves into the wild in England The best fiction of 2015, the Guardian

'As always, Sarah Hall picks up on the contemporary, blends it with the extraordinary, stirs in her superb prose style and leaves the reader fascinated and enriched.' The Bay PDF document

'I loved the way it was written with a delicate, poetic hand – it made me ache for mountains, wilderness and wild places. A truly stunning book that has real feeling for the wolf at its core.' Wolf Print Magazine PDF document

'The Wolf Border tracks Rachel through romantic and familial entanglements, childbirth and a series of dramatic events surrounding the wolf project in Cumbria. The plotting and characterization are crisp and effective, but perhaps the greatest pleasure is her prose.' Nick Romeo, Chicago Tribune

'[The Wolf Border] is a book deeply concerned not just with the complexities of the human relationship with the landscape, but with the question of the place of wildness in a world where the boundaries between the real and the artificial, the old and the new, have blurred in strange and often troubling ways.' James Bradley, Sydney Review of Books

'Two years ago, the twice Man Booker-nominated author Sarah Hall won the BBC short story award for Mrs Fox, a tale of domestic entrapment told through the lens of transmogrification. Her new novel is a natural successor since, although the story lacks the magical realism of its predecessor, it’s built around a similar central examination: notions of wildness – animal, human, environmental – and the complex interplay between them.' Lucy Scholes, The Observer

'The result is thrilling, even if sometimes the thrill is simply because of the author’s imaginative audacity.' Irish Examiner

'This is a book overflowing with life and history, propelled by a writer who engages all the reader’s senses: “there’s the smell of loose, black earth, and minerals in the air, incendiary, like cordite”; the belly of a newborn baby is “tight under his soft skin, glabrous, like stone wrapped in chamois leather”.' Catherine Taylor, The Telegraph

'The skills that Sarah Hall demonstrates in her highly anticipated fifth novel are significant and profound; they nourish her larger creative and intellectual vision, rather than existing simply as admirable accomplishments. So it is that the descriptions of altered or threatened landscapes for which she is celebrated - and which feature most prominently in her first novel, Haweswater - are precisely observed but distinctly non-hyperbolic; they convey beauty but resist the picturesque, instead posing questions about it.' Alex Clark, The Guardian

'Hall is skilled at delving into divided loyalties, and homes in on questions about the nature of wildness through the world of the wolf that stalks the pages of this novel with such grace.' April Book of the Month, Psychologies

'Written in a modern, sparse style and set against the dramatic backdrop of the Lakeland landscape, this masterful novel gets to the nub of what we really mean by nature and nurture.' Country Life

'I was swept along by the stunning prose and compelling story.' Woman & Home

'This is Sarah Hall's finest novel. Her rare powers of language and imagination serve assured storytelling and the storytelling reveals, with greater intensity, an outer and inner landscape we thought we already knew.' Cumberland News

'Visceral.' Edinburgh Evening News

'The book won Stylist's Book Wars last week: Just opening the pages of Hall's original and evocative novel whisked me back to the Lakes ... Hall paints such a vivid picture of the Lake District in The Wolf Border, you're right there with the wolves.' Stylist PDF document

'[A] writer of sensual, muscular prose about the liminal spaces between civilisation and wilderness ... Everything about this setting provides a perfect playground for Hall’s gorgeously visceral prose ... As the plot heads towards a crash, it’s hard to decide which is more frightening: the untameable, or to be tamed.' Katy Guest, Independent on Sunday

'[P]icking up The Wolf Border always felt like returning to an inhabited environment: Hall’s evocation of the natural world is that good. And whenever the wolves stalk the page, their alien intelligence delivers an uncanny jolt ... The Wolf Border ranks among the finest meditations on motherhood that I have ever read ... If Hall gives us the wolf as an archetype of intuition and pure nature, then one could almost read The Wolf Border as a modern werewolf myth. It is the story of a human transforming and connecting with something terrifying, animal and true.' Tod Wodicka, The National

'Centuries after the British wolf’s extinction, an eccentric Cumbrian earl plans its return. But what sounds like a Gothic fantasy is, in Hall’s hands, a thrilling tale of politics and power ... Compulsively absorbing and masterfully plotted, it confirms Hall as one of our finest fiction writers.' Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail

'I usually reply that I am a selfish old bastard interested in no books but my own, and seldom read more than the first page. I read this one right through: The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall. It is a romance – a modern love story with a happy outcome. It has no wholly evil characters, who may be entertaining but I never find credible. The love of the heroine’s life is wolves, though she shares some with people. The story starts in a North American national park...' Alasdair Gray.

'Sarah Hall is wonderful at pinpointing the push and pull of loyalties, the way a person can be undone or remade by the force of fresh emotion. She’s equally brilliant at tackling the notions of land ownership in an increasingly urbanised society.But above all there’s the world of the wolf, a sleek, magnificent animal that prowls through the pages of this graceful, visceral, utterly compelling read.' Sunday Express

'The prose of Hall, best known for her second novel The Electric Michelangelo, which was shortlisted for the 2004 Booker Prize, is vivid and visceral, studded with surprising turns of phrase... Just as the wolves are misfits in England’s tame countryside, so too are most of the characters and Hall deftly weaves their individual stories together...' Alexandra Frean, The Times

'The Wolf Border is a thoughtful, gripping and utterly humane exploration of generation, parenthood, and the responsibility that connects individuals, both human and animal, to one another... For sheer good writing and intelligence of execution, you may not read a better book this year.' Eleanor Franzen, Quadrapheme

'The stars of Sarah Hall's fifth novel are not her flawed, credible cast of characters but the wolves suggested by her title. Defined "as much by their absence as their iconography," their fleeting appearances and sudden vanishing acts drive The Wolf Border's plot, affect every character and indeed entire nations. By the end, they even embody this lyrical, beautiful and curiously uplifting novel about body politics and the body politic.' James Kidd, The Independent

'Locate. Stalk. Encounter. Rush. Chase. The pace of Sarah Hall’s fifth novel follows the five stages of a wolf hunt as she imagines a pack of apex predators restored to the British countryside: the thrill of lean, grey flanks streaking through the bracken sending vital adrenalin coursing through an ecosystem grown sluggish.' Helen R. Brown, The Spectator

'There’s so much about this book that’s impressive; Hall’s writing is obviously the key to it all, her sentences are precise and rhythmic, not a word out of place, not a slip in the voice. Her descriptions of the landscape of the Lake District and the wolves are breathtaking. Her characterisation – particularly of Rachel – is superb. It’s pleasing to see a woman protagonist, in her thirties, career-driven in an area rarely explored in literature, no desire for a relationship, self-sufficient, a risk-taker, portrayed without moral judgement.' The Writes of Woman

'Now, in The Wolf Border, she is reaping the benefits. This is a mature novel, coming at a transitional point in Hall’s own life. And just as the landscape of her childhood infuses her work to date, so she is excited about the way in which the shift in her personal landscape might affect her fiction.of lean, grey flanks streaking through the bracken sending vital adrenalin coursing through an ecosystem grown sluggish.' Sarah Crown, The Guardian

'...there are moments of true wonder, and what The Wolf Border reveals most tellingly is the magic that exists in the world, in our own private dialogue with existence, in our relationship with the landscapes that mark us, in the necessity of working out who we are and what we are for. I’m being deliberately unspecific about this novel, because I loved it so much. The most helpful thing I feel I can say about it is that I cannot remember the last time I cared so passionately, so personally, about a story’s outcome.' Nina Allan, The Spider's House

'Set in the pristine wilderness split down the middle by the border between Scotland and England — as powerful a haunt here as it’s ever been — in the run-up to and the aftermath of 2014’s hotly fought Independence Referendum, Sarah Hall’s fifth work of fiction is a sumptuous study of truth and trust some are sure to slight because it seems slow... but no. The Wolf Border takes longer than I’d like to find its feet, but before long it’s toddling confidently, then running rampant—not unlike the near-mythical infant its protagonist produces.' Niall Alexander,

'American author Elif Batuman tweeted recently: "Every day I wake consumed by rage because Wolf Hall isn't about wolves." She can keep channelling her anger elsewhere because Sarah Hall's new novel, The Wolf Border, is about wolves. Ghostlike, yellow eyes glimmering, lean, grey flanks rippling, they lope and streak through the heather in the pages of this absorbing novel so thrillingly and so metaphorically that you could say that Hall has created the ultimate Wolf Hall.' Jackie McGlone, Herald Scotland

'"Wolf border" comes from a Finnish word, meaning the boundary between the capital region and the rest of the country, and carries with it the suggestion that everything beyond that border is savage country. This is the country the much-lauded novelist Sarah Hall writes about in her latest book, layering short, neat sentences one over another, to build a close and detailed view of the landscapes she describes - whether the rugged terrain of Idaho or the mountains and moors of the Cumbrian Lake District - and the slow, often reluctant emotional engagements of her characters.' Emily Hourican, Independent Ireland

'This new novel by Sarah Hall, whose earlier work has twice been nominated for the Man Booker prize, makes for rapacious reading. Like her debut, “Haweswater”, “The Wolf Border” is set in her birth place, Cumbria, and revolves around the zealous plans of the Earl of Annerdale to introduce “the god of all dogs”, the wolf, to his estate. As those surrounding the project get pulled into its orbit, the lives of wolves become entwined with the lives of men; political games, murky truths and the ever problematic dynamics of family are laid bare in an absorbing page-turner.' The Economist

'Motherhood and ‘rewilding’ jostle for attention in the author’s latest novel' Lionel Shriver, The FT
Note: the main character's name is wrong in this review.

'Hall is an outstanding writer and this is largely a magnificent novel. Her sensory writing - on landscape, motherhood, sex and the wild - overflows with soul-satisfying imagery. The novel itself moves slowly but is spine-tingling, nonetheless.' Claire Allfree, Metro PDF document

US publication:
The Wolf Border is published on 9th June 2015 in the US by Harper Collins. It is also available through these US retailers:
Barnes & Noble
Harper Collins

Guardian. Books in 2015: the essential literary calendar.
Observer. The most eagerly awaited fiction of 2015.
Independent on Sunday. From Kazuo Ishiguro and Patrick Hall to Pat Butcher: The books of 2015.
Telegraph. 8 reasons to be excited it's 2015.
Harpers Bazaar. Books of 2015.
BBC News. Books in 2015: A look ahead.

UK: Faber & Faber
US: Harper
Brazil: Bertrand Editora
France: Christian Bourgois Editeur
Germany: Knaus Verlag
Italy: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore
Netherlands: Ambo Anthos

Cover of The Wolf Border, by Sarah Hall.

The Wolf Border, by Sarah Hall.
Cover design by Faber
Illustration by Dan Burgess
Author photograph © Nadav Kandar

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