The Perfect Golden Circle by Benjamin Myers
Two men, friendship and crop circles. British writer Benjamin Myers’ (The Offing, The Gallows Pole) strange and beautiful novel The Perfect Golden Circle sets us down among the wheat fields of Wiltshire, England in 1989. Crop circles have begun to appear, as they did the previous summer. Tongues are wagging and conspiracy theories abound.
The creators of these crop circles – Redbone and Calvert – exist at the margins of society. Redbone is a punk musician, creative but directionless. Calvert is an ex-SAS soldier whose experiences in the Falklands War seven years earlier still nip at his heels like unwanted shadows. Theirs is an unlikely friendship, forged over hushed plans made at the local pub, in driving down back laneways in Redbone’s clappedout campervan, and the slow, methodical tracing out of crop circles at night.
Calvert plans their nocturnal sorties with military precision. Redbone is the artist, his visionary pictogram designs come to him as if from across time. The men are two imperfect halves of a flawed circle, each needing the other to keep themselves whole, and to keep their own personal demons at bay. Their focus is solely on the next crop circle: as Myers writes, ‘(it) is always a beacon, beaming hope across the strange and haunted landscapes of their solitary existences.’
But as summer burns on, their crop circles attract growing attention in the media and among conspiracy theorists; attention that may ultimately unmask their identities and foil their most ambitious plan to date.
By choosing to set this story against the backdrop of Thatcherism, societal unrest and environmental changes, Benjamin Myers leans into human frailties that can, given the right circumstances, create radical acts of beauty for beauty’s sake – acts that connect us to each other and back to the land beneath our feet. The Perfect Golden Circle is a tender story of an unusual friendship.