The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth

The Wake

By Paul Kingsnorth

  • Release Date: 2015-09-01
  • Category: Literary
3.5 Score: 3.5 (From 11 Ratings)

Brief Description

"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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Customer reviews

  • Total Waste

    By Sean Cairne
    Nothing happens all the way through till the end. What a waste or time and money.
  • Beautiflly disturbing, absolutely gripping, and without pause

    By benjamindkilleen
    Paul Kingsworth tells a story with words I didn’t know existed and emotions I never thought a book could convey. Wonderful book, and gripping, with all the chaos of a zombie apocalypse rolled into a real-life event. If you think the shadow language is too much of a barrier, just know that it gets MUCH easier after about twenty pages. Your brain clicks into gear and you get it. (It is helpful to give the glossary a quick glance, as there are a few words like fyrd or fugol that are tricky even with context. Fyrd is army and fugol is bird.) Overall, though, this is a brilliant rendition of the time it’s set in and a major accomplishment.