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Cuddy: Winner of the 2023 Goldsmiths Prize

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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 cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc. I admit I was a little daunted by the style when I first started but then Gallows Pole unnerved me to begin with. He is the author of ten books, including The Offing , which was an international bestseller and selected for the Radio 2 Book Club; The Gallows Pole , which won the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction and has been adapted as a BBC series by Shane Meadows; Beastings which was awarded the Portico Prize for Literature, and Pig Iron which won the inaugural Gordon Burn Prize.Overall it read a bit like a guided tour of the points of interest at the cathedral (which I remembered from mine--would it have been less obvious otherwise? Although the later sections (a second-person account of the construction of Durham Cathedral, a Murder in the Cathedral-type play set in the 1650s, the excavation of his remains in the 1820s, a young man and potential descendant in 2019 Durham named Michael Cuthbert) feel pretty pretentious and less than essential, it's neat that a similar female character (Edith or Edie in later sections) recurs. To protect the venerable saint, he was disinterred and embarked on a century of wandering to keep his remains away from the Norsemen. Cuddy is a novel that combines poetry, prose, diary entries and real historical accounts to relate the story of St.

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Mainly written in prose but with versified and dramatised passages, Cuddy is narrated from the perspectives of a series of interesting characters.

Michael Cuthbert’s connection with the landscape is of an intensity we might expect from a character in an Alan Garner novel. And all the while at the centre sits Durham Cathedral and the lives of those who live and work around this place of pilgrimage - their dreams, desires, connections and communities. I have spent a lot of time working out how the words are arranged on the page, and there is lots of white space within it.

Widely acclaimed, it featured on several end of year lists, and was chosen by Robert Macfarlane in The Big Issue as one of his books of 2014. The pacing, sense of place and period, and the personal stories of its protagonists in Cuddy grip from the beginning and keep a firm hold right through its 400+ pages.

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