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Well written, intriguing story with an interesting mix 11th century Anglo-Saxon and Middle English with enough modern phrasing and words to render it understandable to a 21st century listener/reader.
Speaking of listener/reader, Simon Vance's narration of this book was absolutely remarkable. He took a very difficult text, and transported me back nearly a thousand years. Very good indeed.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Simon Vance does a superb job (as usual) narrating this microscopic examination of British history. The timeframe, 1066-1068, captures all the pain and suffering of a people vanquished by an invading army.
However, we see most of this turmoil through the eyes, and in the mind of, Buccmaster, a farmer who has gone insane after experiencing the tragic loss of his land, wife and sons. For awhile this is an acceptable strategy to convey the story to listeners, but it eventually unravels when we figure out that there will be no redemption for Buccmaster or his scorched landscape. He merely mutters inconsistent babbling towards the end, thinking himself some kind of resurrected ancient god.
The "Wake" is meant to represent the aftermath of the Norman Invasion, but it is also a metaphor for the death of rationality in Buccmaster's mind. At some points this was grating. I considered returning the book, then thought better of it, reminding myself that history (fictional or otherwise) is good for the soul.
I give this novel one scythe up and one down.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful