The Wake

The Wake 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

  • Title: The Wake
  • Author: Paul Kingsnorth
  • ISBN: 9781783520985
  • Page: 401
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 ofA 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.

    One thought on “The Wake”

    1. "lif is a raedel for dumb folc but the things i has seen it is not lic they sae. the bocs and the preosts the bells the laws of the crist it is not like they sae" this is a good boc about a triewe anglisc man who was feotan the ingengas who cwelled harold cyng he is buccmaster a socman with three oxgangs but the fuccan frencs beorned his hus and his wifman so he macs himself a grene man who lifs in the holt hwit the treows

    2. Upon reading the 2014 Man Booker longlist announcement, I was immediately drawn to The Wake because of it's unique premise and because I believe it's the prize's first crowdsourced nomination. Sourced by readers? I had to give it a try. What is perhaps the most unique about this novel, and needs to be mentioned, is the language. Written in a version of Old English created by the author for layman readers, I didn't know what to expect. But what I think should be made clear is that Paul Kingsnorth [...]

    3. After the Norman invasion of England, the French ravage and burn. One man, Buccmaster, returns to his home to find nothing but ash, and his wife's body amidst the ruins.He takes to the woods to become a 'green man' (an outlaw), with loud proclamations of his intention to raise a group to fight the French in revenge for all he has lost.The story is told in Buccmaster's own words. From a narrative perspective, this means that he clearly tries to paint himself in the best light possible, seeking th [...]

    4. 3.5 – 4 starsWhen we think of post-apocalyptic fiction we tend to think specifically of science fiction (or at least I know I do). Our vision is usually either of a near-future survival thriller about the fall of current human civilization into ruin (most often as the result of a nuclear holocaust, an ecological disaster, or more recently due to those pesky zombies), or of the far-future as we witness the after-effects on a society that has fallen into utter barbarity and ruin. We tend to see [...]

    5. Astounding.Written in a shadow version of 11th century English which is incredibly evocative, this is stark and brutal and magical. An invaded country, groups of men driven to the woods and fens, a land haunted by dying gods where Christianity is the first invader. Told by a magnificent creation, buccmaster of holland, an inarticulate, rage-filled, brutal man consumed by paranoia and self-doubt that expresses itself in visions of Odin as Wayland Smith. This is a magnificent book. The author has [...]

    6. I suspect if I read this again, it might get an extra star. I've certainly been thinking about it enough in the three weeks since I finished it. I tend to like the idea of experimental novels more than I like the execution, so this was a welcome exception to that. I thought it was marvellous.When I look over my reading habits, they tend to ebb and flow in certain directions: The Wake for me hit the end-ish of a phase of playing with storytelling conventions, and the early blossoming of an enthus [...]

    7. Well, that was quite a leap. Can't say I've ever gone from one star to five before. But I revisited and finished this book, and it turns out to be the impressive achievement that its fans claim. It's a masterful stream of consciousness narrative told by a deeply unreliable narrator and one of the most compelling and chilling depictions of mental illness that I've ever read. It's also a beautifully crafted example of authorial subtlety -- not so easy from the first-person perspective -- that depl [...]

    8. Kingsnorth’s novel was on the longlist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, and it seemed to me the most interesting book in the bunch. I waited and waited for a US release until I couldn’t stand it any longer and ordered a copy from the UK–well worth the trouble. It tells of the aftermath of the Norman invasion of England in 1066, and it does it in its own “shadow tongue,” a modernized and easily intelligible version of the Old English that was spoken before our language got all Frenchified [...]

    9. [4.5] I've always wanted historical fiction written like this. To feel like I was reading something of another, older world, but not hard work like Chaucer or Beowulf. So I'd probably have read The Wake anyway, regardless of the Booker Prize - it's just that I only heard of it a day or two before the longlist announcement, via, I think, a Guardian comment from book blogger John Self (who has since reviewed the novel for The Times - behind paywall, haven't read it). At that point, when I looked a [...]

    10. (3.5) This has just won the Bookseller book of the year award; I wish I could say I appreciated it more. Kingsnorth calls his Booker-longlisted fiction debut “a post-apocalyptic novel set 1000 years in the past.” Written in the author’s own version of Old English, the story traces the English guerrilla resistance movement that followed the Norman Conquest. This novel is hard work, requiring patience and effort from any reader. Prior experience of or interest in Old English chronicles would [...]

    11. Outstanding novel about a landowner in Lincolnshire – Buccmaster of Holland – set in the years 1066-1068. Buccmaster, even before the Norman invasion, is apart from his fellow fen dwellers, still, like his grandfather but not his father, a follower of the Old Gods and a rejecter of the Church; also someone convinced he has through his Grandfather been chosen and marked out by the legendary blacksmith Weland (whose sword he believes he owns). At the start of 1066 he believes he sees various i [...]

    12. the night was clere though i slept i seen it. though i slept i seen the calm hierde naht only the still. when i gan down to sleep all was clere in the land and my dreams was full of stillness but my dreams did not cepe me still when i woc in the mergen all was blaec though the night had gan and all wolde be blaec after and for all time. a great wind had cum in the night and all was blown then and broc. none had thought a wind lic this colde cum for all was blithe lifan as they always had and who [...]

    13. A brave and difficult novel, not merely for its use of a partially-reconstructed Old English as its narrative voice, but in making its central character so utterly unsympathetic. In his own mind a hero of the resistance effort against the invading Normans, "buccmaster of holland" is arrogant, self-pitying, deceitful, petty, vindictive, sadistic, boastful and cowardly. He's also almost certainly insane (the only possible alternative being that the ancient heathen gods of England, who he believes [...]

    14. What's strangest about this book isn't that it's written in an ersatz extinct language, it's that the narrator ends up being the most unlikable character in the entire novel. The "shadow" Anglo Saxon isn't just a gimmick; this isn't merely an historical account of heroic Anglo underdogs fighting against Norman invaders--no simple RETURN OF THE JEDI set in twelfth century fenns. No, Kingsnorth overturns such a premise and instead crafts a rather complex and thought-provoking examination of imperi [...]

    15. The Wake was a deeply satisfying, completely immersive reading experience for me, and despite my growing realisation that the narrator was a bully, a liar, a coward, and probably a paranoid schizophrenic, I was kind of sad to leave the hate-filled confines of his head. Buccmaster is a Dark Ages Travis Bickle, a self-styled visionary cast adrift in the ruins of Anglo-Saxon England after the Norman invasion. He talks to the old gods, plots revolution, procrastinates, struts about with his grandfat [...]

    16. A month ago I decided that I wasn’t going to bother with The Wake.After skimming the opening pages, and coming across words like “blaec” and “micel” and “fugol”, I’d concluded that I didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to deal with 100,000 words of pseudo Old English. As a compromise, I decided I would spend one day reading the book so I could write the sort of review that says less about the novel and more about the reviewer’s failings.But when the day came and I started re [...]

    17. I would have never believed that I would enjoy reading a book taking place during the Norman invasion of Britain AND it's told through a modified form of Old English.The Buccmaster of Holland is living well. He has two sons, a lot of land, a huge house and a loving wife. Then after the Battle of Hastings, he loses everything and decides to put together a band of mercenaries to kill all French citizens.However there are some problems, the main one is that The Buccmaster is stuck to the old ways i [...]

    18. I've never read anything like this book before - except in my university days when I laboured over pages from the Anglo Saxon Chronicle which made little or no impact on me. The concept that Paul Kingsnorth has come up with - to devise a 'shadow tongue' somewhere between Anglo Saxon and modern English, is extra-ordinary, and makes the book feel instantly more real than hundreds of pages of description setting up life for a farmer in the Fens in the 11th century.It's not just the language which i [...]

    19. I want to push this book into the face of everyone who ever tried to write historical fiction with stylized language. I want to shout THIS, THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE. See, I hate when writers try to give the language a historical feel by peppering the narrative with anachronisms. It just doesn't work. It comes off as shallow and unnecessary. But "The Wake"? Excuse me when I'm jumping around in enthusiasm for this linguistic feast. "The Wake" conveys the (assumed) way of thinking in Old Engla [...]

    20. I tried getting into the pattern of this faux Middle English but my head had other things in mind. Headaches, mainly.It's an interesting gimmick but I have started thinking there should be a separate award for experimental fiction and linguistic inventions. And it shouldn't be the BookerA:I recently read The Elements of Style Illustrated and here is one fast and relevant rule:"20. Avoid foreign languages.The writer will occasionally find it convenient or necessary to borrow from other languages. [...]

    21. It took me a long, long time to get into this book. My friend Sarah told me about it. She said the style was absolutely riveting, she couldn’t put it down. I was going on a journey so I bought it on Kindle to take with me. And then I found I couldn’t read it. I just couldn’t get into it. The novel is set in England, in and just after 1066 – the years of the Norman invasion and occupation. That’s a long time ago. An ancient time indeed, and to mark its strangeness, the author has used a [...]

    22. Not efry man the boc wolde lic, for it is deorc lic a holt in a night with no mona and blaec and deop lic the mere ofer the stoccs of treows hwer the eald gods lifd befor the hwit crist cum.I must admit that I was somewhat skeptical of a novel written in a "shadow language" meant to produce the feeling of Old English without the frustrations of having to master its complex grammar, unfamiliar phonology, and obscure orthography. The more I read, however, the more comfortable I became with the art [...]

    23. Written in what Kingsnorth describes as a shadow version of old English, "The Wake" is an interesting book about the aftermath of the Norman invasion of England, as well as the Saxon resistance. It takes a while to get into the flow of the language, though it's worth the effort, but that effort is an obstacle to easy reading. (In a way, it's like the effort required to read William Golding's "The Inheritors" or Burgess's "A Clockwork Orange," though the language in "The Wake" is essentially real [...]

    24. boern angland. most notable for its style (give it about 25 pages to sink in), the anger at loss of identity really had an affect on me. the story could have been better to match the powerful language. still quite an experience.

    25. First and foremost, and I say this very seriously, this book is NOT for everyone. Even if you think you might like it, you probably won't. So who should read it? People who are not afraid to work to read a book; people with some knowledge of early English, old English, literature (as such), people who like learning about the "old" ways, people who like all this AND historical fiction.The Wake takes place during and after William the Conqueror defeats the English and becomes king of England. Ever [...]

    26. Like us all I persevered with the language to enjoy the author's aim to transport us to a different time and thinking. But throughout I was thinking this is all made up to give us a flavour of a pre-Norman world, to trick us into thinking it was authentic in its story telling But ultimately it was all made up Chicken flavoured soup. No chicken. Booker prize long-listed, it will have its fans and rightly so A challenging read, tasking the reader, different perspective, bravo to the author, but it [...]

    27. A powerful and largely successful attempt to imagine and, through extraordinary use of language, evoke in a 21stC reader an 11thC mindset and worldview. Top work. Recommended.

    28. "when I woc in the mergen all was blaec through the night had gan and all wolde be blaec after and for all time. a great wind had cum in the night and all was blown then and broc. none had thought a wind lic this colde cum for all was blithe lifan as they always had and who will hiere the gleoman when the tales he tells is blaec who locs at the heofan if it bring him regn who locs in the mere when there seems no end to its deopness"Paul Kingsnorth's The Wake, published in 2014, was longlisted fo [...]

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