Benjamin Wood
The Bellwether Revivals

Book Cover

Bright, bookish Oscar Lowe has escaped the council estate where he was raised and now works in a care home for the elderly in Cambridge. His conversations with the home's most ill-tempered but fascinating resident, former professor Dr Bram Paulsen, are the closest he comes to the academic life all around him. But when he falls in love with Iris Bellwether, a beautiful and enigmatic student at King's College, he is seduced into her world of scholarship and privilege, and soon becomes embroiled in the strange machinations of her brilliant but troubled brother Eden. Eden is a gifted musician and polymath and believes that he is destined for greatness. He is convinced that he can heal people through music and Oscar finds himself involved in a series of disturbing experiments with Eden, Iris and their other friends that convince him that Eden himself needs help — but Oscar's recognition of the danger that faces them all comes too late and the novel ends in tragedy.

Praise for Benjamin Wood's The Bellwether Revivals:

Finalist, 2012 Costa First Novel Award
Shortlisted, 2011 Dylan Thomas Prize Sony Reader Award
Longlisted, 2012 Desmond Elliott Prize

"A stunningly good debut novel ... Wood writes with vigour, precision and intensity, with a story that will keep readers up all night" — Steven Galloway, author of The Cellist of Sarajevo

"Accomplished, atmospheric, and suspenseful ... Wood's prose attains the high level of craft we expect from literary novels." —Quill & Quire

"Previous authors have explored the proximity of genius to madness, but Wood treats this familiar theme with a freshness and intelligence that hint at greater things to come." —Times Literary Supplement

"Draws readers in, much as Eden's organ draws Oscar, a young nursing-home care assistant, into King's College Chapel, at Cambridge. It doesn't matter that Oscar is an atheist. Before he knows it, he's sat through an entire service — just as the reader has stayed up all night, seduced by Wood's vivid prose, swept up in a crescendo of suspense ... his character raises questions, such as: How slippery is the slope between madness and genius? And what exactly is the scope of music's healing powers? Since answers are muddied by the clamour of violence, readers seeking tidy truths won't find them here. They may, however, close the book feeling inspired to probe the issues further." —The Globe and Mail

"Wood ... can write lovely prose and is able to maintain a page-turning narrative pace" —Toronto Star

"Author Benjamin Wood has written an intellectual and eerie novel in The Bellwether Revivals, his first book ... part psychological thriller, part philosophical coming-of-age grand saga." —Vancouver Sun

"Wood creates intriguing characters and situations that are difficult to resist. The ultimate resolution of this fast-paced novel is equally mesmerizing." —Chatelaine

Length: 428 pp
Genre: Literary fiction
Setting: Cambridge, UK
Period: Contemporary
Publication Date: March 20, 2012

English Canada, McClelland & Stewart
English UK, Simon & Schuster UK

For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.
Benjamin Wood

Benjamin Wood was born in 1981 and grew up in northwest England. In 2004, he was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to attend the MFA Creative Writing programme at the University of British Columbia, Canada. During his tenure as fiction editor of Canadian literary journal, PRISM international, the publication was awarded the Writers' Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. Benjamin's short fiction has appeared in several international journals, and his novel The Bellwether Revivals was shortlisted for the inaugural Dylan Thomas Prize Sony Reader Award for the best unpublished novel. He is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London, where he teaches and develops undergraduate programmes.