Based on real events in Epping Forest on the edge of London around 1840, "The Quickening Maze" centres on the first incarceration of the great nature poet John Clare. After years struggling with alcohol, critical neglect and depression, Clare finds himself in High Beach Private Asylum - an institution run on reformist principles which would later become known as occupational therapy. At the same time another poet, the young Alfred Tennyson, moves nearby and becomes entangled in the life and catastrophic schemes of the asylum's owner, the peculiar, charismatic Dr Matthew Allen. For John Clare, a man who had grown up steeped in the freedoms and exhilarations of nature, who thought 'the edge of the world was a day's walk away', a locked door is a kind of death. This intensely lyrical novel describes his vertiginous fall, through hallucinatory episodes of insanity and dissolving identity, towards his final madness. Historically accurate, but brilliantly imagined, the closed world of High Beach and its various inmates - the doctor, his lonely daughter in love with Tennyson, the brutish staff and John Clare himself - are brought vividly to life. Outside the walls is Nature, and Clare's paradise: the birds and animals, the gypsies living in the forest; his dream of home, of redemption, of escape. Rapturous yet precise, exquisitely written, rich in character and detail, this is a remarkable and deeply affecting book: a visionary novel which contains a world.
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"Impressive ... The key to this success is the concentration of Fould's writing, which manages to seem both simultaneously poised and flowing in its urgency" -- Andrew Motion The Guardian "In The Quickening Maze, Foulds displays in abundance the same kind of precision of observation and empathy of imagination that he gives here to Clare...The world he evokes...is conjured up with remarkable intensity and economy of means. It is impossible to guess where Foulds will travel next in his fiction, but it is safe to assume that the journey with him will be well worth taking" -- Nick Rennison The Sunday Times "The language is simple, sometimes adorned with fleeting and apt images: the sky is 'cloud-breeding', summer clouds are 'curds'" -- Phillip Womack Literary Review "The chief pleasure of the book is its prose: exquisite yet measured, precise, attentive to the world" -- Neel Murkerjee Sunday Telegraph "Fould's exceptional novel is like a lucid dream: earthy and true, but shifting, metamorphic - the word-perfect fruit of a poet's sharp eye and noevlist's limber reach" -- Tom Gatti The Times
About Adam Foulds
Adam Foulds was born in 1974, took a Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia and now lives in South London. His first novel, The Truth About These Strange Times, was published in 2007 and his book-length narrative poem, The Broken Word, the following year. He was named the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 2008.
The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds
Used - Very Good
Winner of The South Bank Show Awards: Literature 2010 Short-listed for Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2009
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.