Cuddy: Winner of the 2023 Goldsmiths Prize

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Cuddy: Winner of the 2023 Goldsmiths Prize

Cuddy: Winner of the 2023 Goldsmiths Prize

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Following the Battle of Dunbar three thousand Scotsmen were imprisoned in the Cathedral, 1700 of them died. In this first story we meet the young cook who is part of the haliwerfolk, feeding the monks with whatever can be found and also tending to their ailments – their aches and pains and even their tooth aches. It is probably Myers' most ambitious and experimental book (with the possible exception of The Gallows Pole) and it is a very enjoyable and stimulating read. Myers has written this in the flamboyant wordy style of the period, catching the nuances effortlessly. There is always an owl-eyed youth, a provider of victuals and seer of visions, a bad monk and a violent man, their prominence ebbing and flowing from story to story.

When 2019 rolled around I went in thinking I would be disinterested, especially since it didn't instantly seem connected to the rest of the book, but actually I got drawn into Michael's story. Most of all, it's about those who have come before us and how they shape who we are, how we can be guided by the past. I read Book I with enthusiasm, its verse-like format and fragments of historical detail building a picture of his 10th-century followers ("this colourful caravan of committed Cuddy acolytes / this coffin-carrying cult, forever on the flit, / forever making camp and breaking camp") as they travelled with his remains and envisioned a home for them at Durham.I’ve been reading his novels over the past few years and there’s something different, from the tender relationship in The Offing , the working class narrative of Pig Iron and medieval coin counterfeiters of The Gallows Pole. Telling the story of Saint Cuthbert and Durham Cathedral over the period of a thousand years, the author takes full advantage of all styles of writing be it poetry, prose , play script and the use of historical quotations. I loved what Myers was trying to do here and show how history gets warped and changed by us and our stories over the years.

Cuthbert and his influence on the Christian faith over the last 1400 years, this is a deeply philosophical novel. I bought this on a whim after having visited Lindisfarne, Cuddy’s Cave, and Durham for the first time this year and it was so fun to explore the story of Cuthbert through the ages. It is on the final leg of this journey that Benjamin Myers’s novel opens, with the great cathedral, founded in Cuthbert’s honour in 1093 at what will later be Durham, still nothing but a holy vision of his most fervent disciples. In fact, most of Cuthbert’s story takes place after his death, when he is exhumed and moved to safety.Some sections read like non- fiction (literally page after page of direct quotes from reference books), others read like fiction, others like poetry (with floating words and lines mid sentence, italicised stanzas and text getting smaller and larger) and others like pieces of source material with references unusually held within the main body of the text. We use Google Analytics to see what pages are most visited, and where in the world visitors are visiting from.

The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products.and from Cuthbert's history, dressed up in fictional packaging that was sometimes very beautiful and sometimes dismayingly forced. The story of Saint Cuthbert, ‘the patron saint of Northern England’ is told through the experiences of a tenth century orphan, Ediva, who is travelling with a band of monks on their long journey with Cuddy’s corpse at the time of the Viking raids, the abused wife of a violent Durham stonemason in the fourteenth century, an Oxford historian straight out of an M R James story attending the opening of Cuthbert’s tomb in Durham Cathedral in 1827 (this section I found less convincing than the others and one particular glaring anachronism served to underline that the narrative voice here wasn’t quite believable) and Michael Cuthbert, a labourer working on the cathedral in 2019. Impressive scope and literary range to this brick of a novel about Saint Cuthbert's posthumous legacy. The stories we tell one another are all that shall remain when time dies and even the strongest sculpted stones crumble to sand. The book is in six parts, four of which are extended stories which range from the 10th century to the present day, the others are a short prologue and an interlude.

The fact that I had visited many of the Northumberland settings, including Durham and Lindisfarne, in 2021, gave me a greater than average interest in this book, but I doubt many readers, other than those with a local connection, will have staying power.These are some of the most inventive pages, in prose and poetry, in fonts that decrease in size, and in direct quotes from historians who strive to interpret the past. This is prose poetry which is the first of several literary forms used through the book (watch out also for stories told through quotes from text books, plays in which a building is a character, a Victorian journal/diary and Myers’ intense prose). The cathedral is a wonder … in its elegance and grotesquery, its shimmering and its solidity, Myers captures it accurately.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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