Paperback review: Time's Anvil, By Richard Morris
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Saturday 23 November 2013
“One thing we bring to time,” writes archaeologist Richard Morris in this multi-levelled book about digging up the English past, “is a compulsion to split it up”.
In contrast, Morris seeks links and affinities. He mixes a history of archaeology with family memoirs and a panoramic vista of the past from the Mesolothic era to industrial Birmingham - his own home soil. The result is a richly textured, and very moving, hybrid of a book: silted, layered, as studded with jewels as the mud around an Anglo-Saxon tomb. The ground beneath your feet – or the keepsakes cleared from a relative’s home – will never feel the same again.
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