“I didn’t realise Cheshire was so flat, it gives this beautiful bleakness with pockets of isolation.”
This is according to Michael Egan, an author who, until recently, lived in Hartford near Northwich and taught English at St Nicholas Catholic High School.
Originally from Liverpool, his writing focuses on the landscape of Cheshire and Merseyside, which is highlighted in his first novel, Circles a Clover.
Michael describes his novel as a ‘blurring of the imagined and the real’, part of which is set in Hartford itself.
The story centres around a 15-year-old taking care of her dad, who is obsessed that the world is going to end in a ‘massive catastrophe’.
As part of his preparation to escape this fate, the pair leave their home in Hartford for the fictional island of Selny, off the coast close to Liverpool.
A blurb from Everything with Words adds: “A gripping piece of magical realism.
“The harsh reality of a poor, isolated life is perceived obliquely through the eyes of a father and daughter whose tangled vision add a fine touch of poetry, irony, and magic to what are otherwise common lives, marked by a continuous scramble for existence.”
Michael’s literary background was firstly in poetry and he already has a number of published works.
He explained: “My poetry has always been about place.
“When I moved to Cheshire, a lot of my writing focused on that and it’s given me a lot to write about.
“It’s that semi-rural quality which is quite strange about Cheshire.
“It’s about nature colliding with the urban and that happens a lot in Cheshire.
“I didn’t realise it was so flat, it gives this beautiful bleakness with pockets of isolation.
“With the novel, Hartford is an affluent area but the characters I want to write about are from a working class background.
“My characters are on the edge of that society and are existing within these small pockets.”
The novel’s title comes from a poem, A Song on the End of the World by Czeslaw Milosz, in which the image of a bee circling a clover is used to illustrate the end of the world passing almost without anyone realising, a symbol which Michael was inspired by.
He added: “I wrote the novel a few years ago when I was teaching and finished it quite quickly.
“I had been toying with the idea of different formats but then I got the hook of the poem.”
Circles a Clover is released on October 21.