The Quickening Maze

Adam Foulds, born the same year as this humble blog-writer, instills a deep sense of jealousy in her. His skill with weaving a mood across the entire work, set in historical 1800-ish England is downright magical, lyrical, off the charts. The work begins with John’s foray to the ends of the earth, walking far as the horizon, far past his village, getting lost and scurrying back quickly to find the village calling his name, searching for him. This is the peasant poet, John Clare, encountered later in the book as a resident of the insane asylum farm run by Dr. Matthew Allen. Allen and his family have a cozy retreat, filled with the finest lace and teapots and orrery displaying all the planets. Unfortunately, this is funded through debt, and Allen embarks on a scheme to make more money by a mechanical wood carving device. Alfred Tennyson, poet, and his brother, are in residence, for the brother’s melancholy. The Tennysons invest their inheritance with Allen, then find his fraudulent payment of dividends. Allen’s son Hannah attempts to lure Tennyson into marriage, and upon rebuff decides he is too smelly and plain. Margaret turned Mary is psychotically religious. John Clare rendezvous with the gypsies, believes himself to be a boxer. He loses his key privileges and is sent to the upper farm where unspeakable acts occur to Margaret/Mary.
Wonderful book, a light shining on the mind as you read.
Vocab learned:
*ordure – excrement
Recommended by Natania R.