No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Monday, February 28, 2005

#11: The Clerkenwell Tales -- Peter Ackroyd

A medieval thriller with obvious literary antecedents (there are 22 chapters, each titled after a character in the Canterbury Tales, though they're not the same individuals that Chaucer wrote of) and the usual Ackroyd themes. It's an interesting read, and Ackroyd wears his learning lightly: I found his archaic vocabulary (bonchief as the opposite of mischief, and a number of others that I've scribbled down to check later) very clearly presented. The conceit of 22 characters, each with a different point of view on a different part of the action, works very nicely, and the characters have distinct voices -- though those voices are all much more similar to one another than any of them to a modern voice: there's a clear sense of how foreign the London of 1399 was. Shame I read this just after reading the Alan Wall anthology (see below), the first story of which deals with a series of ritual events, corresponding to the wounds of Christ, played out across London ...

reposted here from LJ in order to keep all my reviews in one place

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