The Wake

The Wake

Book - 2014
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Winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2014 and The Bookseller Industry Book of the Year Award 2015. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Folio Prize and shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize.

A post-apocalyptic novel set a thousand years ago, The Wake tells the story of Buccmaster of Holland, a free farmer of Lincolnshire, owner of three oxgangs, a man clinging to the Old Gods as the world changes drastically around him. After losing his sons at the Battle of Hastings and his wife and home to the invading Normans, Buccmaster begins to gather together a band of 'grene men', who take up arms to resist their brutal invaders.

Written in a 'shadow tongue' - a version of Old English updated so as to be understandable for the modern reader - The Wake is a landmark in historical fiction and looks set to become a modern classic.

Publisher: London : Unbound, 2014.
ISBN: 9781908717863
Characteristics: 365 pages ;,23 cm


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Dec 07, 2015

"It was written in what might be called a shadow tongue--a pseudo-language intended to convey the feeling of the old language. . ."
When I heard that the debut novel by Paul Kingsnorth, a poet and former journalist, was written in a homage to Old English (he calls it a "shadow tongue"), I was immediately intrigued. Kingsnorth (kind of a perfect writer name) imagines the chaotic, violent world of England after the Norman conquest. You can appreciate its Joycean linguistic inventiveness while still having trouble following it. It actually makes more sense to read out loud. No doubt this will appeal to anyone who had to suffer through "Beowulf" or "The Song of Roland" in English class. Pairs well with mead.

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