Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Levels” as Want to Read:
The Levels
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Levels

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Set in the Somerset Levels, a hidden world where lives Billy, by trade a basket maker, by inclination an innocent and regretful thinker whose days are spent with his mother who cannot help shouting, his father who cannot help getting into trouble, chickens who can't help dying and Dick, a childhood friend grown to adolescence but not maturity. Baskets are made and sold, ee ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published December 12th 1988 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1987)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Levels, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Levels

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  55 ratings  ·  6 reviews

Sort order
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young man, Billy, grows up in the Somerset levels and becomes a basket maker. This is a traditional craft of the area, although it is dying out. He does not really choose his job, he follows his father in the craft and does not have many other opportunities in the area.
As a teenager, Billy has a summer romance with a girl whose artist mother rents the local 'haunted house' for a while, before the daughter goes to college in London. We know from the start that Billy and Muriel do not stay toget
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Drove House has always loomed large over village life. Boarded-up for years, it is reputed to be brimming with ghosts, and is shunned by the locals - all except Billy, for whom it has been the site of childhood dens and secret adolescent adventures. When the captivating Muriel moves in with her bohemian mother, they sweep out the ghosts and breathe new life into both the house and Billy's quiet rural existence. After an idyllic summer, though, Muriel returns to her life in London, and the newly ...more
Clive Newnham
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read The Levels shortly after Cider With Rosie (Laurie Lee). It makes a very comparable read which I thoroughly enjoyed and very much recommend.
Kate Tilley
Nov 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Really beautifully rendered and quite depressing.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In his first novel, Peter Benson brilliantly captures what it is like to grow up in a very rural environment. The story of Billy, a basket maker in the heart of the Somerset Levels, and a doomed teenage romance, it is one of the best books I've read for capturing how life is lived (or at least, how it was lived - the book was first published in 1987) among the rural poor. I grew up in a farming community in Norfolk in the sixties and seventies, and so many of the characters, their attitudes, lim ...more
Tracey Gemmell
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A delightful, humourous, poignant look at bygone life in rural Somerset. The joys and tears of first love, quirky characters, and ancient willow basket weaving traditions make this an absorbing read.
Kate Parkinson
rated it it was amazing
Oct 17, 2018
Ms6282 Slater
rated it really liked it
Aug 07, 2013
Malcolm Walker
rated it it was ok
Sep 10, 2009
rated it liked it
Sep 21, 2012
rated it liked it
May 27, 2013
rated it really liked it
Dec 09, 2010
rated it liked it
May 14, 2018
fiona drake
rated it it was amazing
Apr 29, 2017
Dave Pescod
rated it really liked it
Feb 20, 2018
Anne-Marie Weeden
rated it really liked it
Jan 24, 2019
Caroline F
rated it really liked it
Aug 15, 2018
Tom Hughes
rated it really liked it
Oct 26, 2014
John Constable
rated it liked it
May 27, 2013
Sean Martin
rated it it was amazing
Mar 01, 2012
Emma Major
rated it it was ok
Jan 25, 2015
Derek Hayes
rated it it was amazing
Oct 08, 2016
rated it liked it
Nov 20, 2017
rated it really liked it
Apr 01, 2014
Christine Stovell
rated it really liked it
Aug 21, 2012
rated it really liked it
Jul 16, 2016
rated it liked it
Jul 14, 2012
rated it liked it
Feb 15, 2014
John Mulligan
rated it it was amazing
Jul 23, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jun 05, 2014
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Peter Benson was born in 1956 in Kent, UK and is the award-winning author of seven novels. His work has been described as ‘a far-reaching exploration into unlikely relationships’ and is characterised by the precision of its language, characterisations and approach.
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »