Paul Kingsnorth The Wake

ISBN 13: 9781908717863

The Wake

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"A work that is as disturbing as it is empathetic, as beautiful as it is riveting." ―Eimear McBride, New Statesman

In the aftermath of the Norman Invasion of 1066, William the Conqueror was uncompromising and brutal. English society was broken apart, its systems turned on their head. What is little known is that a fractured network of guerrilla fighters took up arms against the French occupiers.
In The Wake, a postapocalyptic novel set a thousand years in the past, Paul Kingsnorth brings this dire scenario back to us through the eyes of the unforgettable Buccmaster, a proud landowner bearing witness to the end of his world. Accompanied by a band of like-minded men, Buccmaster is determined to seek revenge on the invaders. But as the men travel across the scorched English landscape, Buccmaster becomes increasingly unhinged by the immensity of his loss, and their path forward becomes increasingly unclear.
Written in what the author describes as "a shadow tongue"―a version of Old English updated so as to be understandable to the modern reader―The Wake renders the inner life of an Anglo-Saxon man with an accuracy and immediacy rare in historical fiction. To enter Buccmaster's world is to feel powerfully the sheer strangeness of the past. A tale of lost gods and haunted visions, The Wake is both a sensational, gripping story and a major literary achievement.

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About the Author:

Paul Kingsnorth is a former journalist and deputy editor of "The Ecologist" magazine who has won several awards for his poetry and essays. He is also the author of two works of nonfiction. In 2009, he cofounded the Dark Mountain Project, an international network of writers, artists, and thinkers in search of new stories for troubled times. "The Wake" is his first novel.

Review:

The Wake is a masterpiece. My top book of the year.” ―Eleanor Catton, Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize

The Wake is an astonishing accomplishment. The events in it are chronicled by Buccmaster, a brutally unreliable narrator, in an adapted version of old English. At first the prospect seems unreadably off-putting; within twenty pages you get the hang of it; by thirty the suddenly fluent reader is immersed entirely in the mental and geographical contours of the era. But it works the other way too: we are seeing--and feeling and hearing--the living roots of Englishness.” ―Geoff Dyer

“Extraordinary.” ―Philip Pullman

“Reading [The Wake] is to be immersed in the past and in a story in a way that I haven't really felt since childhood . . . The most glorious experience I've had with a book in years.” ―Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

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