Nature and Necessity

Tariq Goddard


Even though they were mother and daughter they were known mostly as ‘the sisters’. It was a union that would lead them both into lives they wished they had not had.

For thirty-five years, two women frighten each other through the fading twilight of the last century, their existence an unacknowledged tragedy of manners. Confusing their duty to one another for the feelings they’re too busy to mention, their desire for “modest social success” ends by asphyxiating whatever lies within its grasp. From the art galleries of Manhattan Island to the pubs of the North Yorkshire Moors, Nature and Necessity is a wild reimagining of the nineteenth-century realist novel, a story of siblings battling for survival and supremacy, a war story without armies, and a warning that even the most promising and prosperous of lives can be crushed by the fear of uttering the confession: I love you.

Nature and Necessity is available in all good bookshops and online.
UK: Hive //  Foyles // Blackwells // Amazon UK
US: Indiebound // Amazon US // Barnes and Noble

Published July 2017
PB ISBN: 9781910924440 ($14.95 US/ $16.95 CAN)
eBook ISBN: 9781910924457 ($8.99 US & CAN)

About the Author

Tariq Goddard was born in London and read philosophy at King’s College, London, and Continental Philosophy at the University of Warwick. In 2002 his first novel, Homage to a Firing Squad, was shortlisted for the Whitbread (Costa) Book Award for First Novel and the Wodehouse-Bollinger Writing Award. He was included as one of Waterstones’ ‘Faces of the Future’ and the novel, whose film rights were sold, was listed as one of The Observer Four Debuts of the Year. In 2003, his second novel, Dynamo, was cited as one of the ten best sports novels of all time by The Observer Sports Magazine. The Morning Rides Behind Us, his third novel, was released in 2005, and short-listed for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Fiction. In 2010, The Picture of Contented New Wealth, his fourth novel, won The Independent Publishers Award for Horror Writing, and he was awarded a development grant by The Royal Literary Fund. The Message, published in 2011 and set in a fictional African state, received Silver at the 2012 Independent Publishers Award for Literary Fiction.

In 2007, Goddard began the imprint Zero Books. In 2014, he and his co-founders left Zero Books and started Repeater Books. He lives on a farm in Wiltshire with his wife and children where he is writing his seventh novel, High John The Conqueror.


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, it is not an airport novel as 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


“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

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.

—Foreword Reviews