Outside of Norwich, in East Anglia, are the fens: rich silty wetland disposed to farming. The boundary between the city and the country is pronounced by accent, by politics, and by ancient history. Gemma Hardacre, 22, once crossed that boundary to get her sociology degree, and now she returns, a published but unemployable academic. On the way, she almost runs over a youth (a “chav”) on the road, who fixates on her.
The chav follows her back to her parents’ farm and hires on as a hand. Gemma’s anxieties about returning home to her parents, about her role and her class, and about being loved all converge on the chav. He transforms into a symbol of her worst fears, and she resolves to undermine and destroy him. She traps him in a high temperature grain dryer and turns it on. While he screams, she realizes that what she’s become belongs neither in city nor country. She flees to find herself in a world where the young are lost.