It is the May 2002 local elections in the Black Country, the ''Tipton Three'' have been arrested and sent to Guantanamo and the BNP confidently expect new seats on the council. England are about to play Argentina in the World Cup while a local league clash is billed by the press as ''a match to spark a race war''. A passionate, page-turning story about grass-roots politics, football and the far right in a multicultural, working class town - Heartland is one of the finest English novels of the decade.
Heartland was selected for BBC radio 4 'Book at Bedtime'
''This is what fiction should be and what readers want it to be: passionately engaged. The ambition and achievement shine forth from every sentence'' - David Peace, author of The Damned Utd
''A writer with a wonderful ear for dialect and an unblinking sense of Britain as it is today. Anthony Cartwright's patient, attentive storytelling shines a glowing light on areas of our common experience that the English novel usually consigns to darkness.'' - Jonathan Coe
''Heartland is beautiful, moving and important. Victories and defeats on and off the pitch are tenderly rendered in this acute portrait of identity and community'' - Catherine O'Flynn
''A great book about football ... captures just what it''s like to be engaged in the complex plot of a game, whether as fan or a player. If you read a better complement to the game this year you''ll be lucky.'' - When Saturday Comes
''An impressive novel, glimpsed through the prism of a pair of football matches.'' D. J. Taylor, Guardian
''This brilliant realised novel expertly interweaves the stories of friends on either side of a stricken community's social and religious divide.'' - Esquire
''This slice-of-life novel is ambitiously structured. A welcome and timely take on England now, from a talented and thoughtful writer.'' - Carol Birch, Independent
''The real strength of this novel lies in the vivid Black Country vernacular and the framework carefully constructed to fit the football match in Sapporo.'' - Daily Mail
''Movingly traverses the territory of the human heart.'' - Independent on Sunday
'Heartland has similar scope to Don DeLillo's Underworld and such ambition pays. This impressive novel succeeds in giving voice to a part of the country that is more frequently spoken about than listened to.' - The Observer