The White Ravens Database

Presented by   Internationale Jugendbibliothek / International Youth Library

German / Switzerland

Hard Land

Wells, Benedict (text)
Zürich: Diogenes, [2021]. – 345 p.
ISBN 978-3-257-07148-1

Summer  | Coming of age  | Friendship  | Love  | Death  | Loss

Reading age: 12+

White Ravens issue: 2021


“During that summer, I fell in love and my mother died.” This is the beginning of “Hard Land” – and if the saying is true that all good stories are about love and/or death, then there is nothing more to say. Benedict Wells has written a great coming-of-age novel. It’s 1985 somewhere in Missouri, the summer holidays are starting, and fifteen-year-old Sam describes a time when everything changes, a time when he is finding his place in the world. He tackles all the big issues, as well as the small ones, in a truthful and serious manner, but also with the lightness of a sleep-walker. Sam narrates with the sort of wisdom unique to teenagers. His view of the world is clear, but not cold. And even though the story is about life and death, about love and betrayal, it never turns kitschy. [IG]