The Quickening Maze, By Adam Foulds
Sunday 19 December 2010
Adam Foulds' superb depiction of the 19th-century poet John Clare, suffering bouts of madness and being treated with the revolutionary methods of Dr Matthew Allen at High Beach Asylum, is a work of poetry itself.
From the moment we meet Clare, haunted and confused, we are plunged into the dark landscape of his mind that the real, outside world does little to mitigate. The presence of the future Poet Laureate Alfred Tennyson, who has come to the aid of his mad brother, attracts the marital hopes of the lonely, bookish Hannah, but it is her beautiful best friend, Annabella, who catches his eye.
Through history, the things that drive us mad may always have been ordinary and everyday, and words may be cast about without a care as they always have been. But Foulds' exact and effective prose shows how deep and damaging the most mundane act, the most thoughtless word, will always be, making this novel about a specific case, at a specific point in medical history, quite timeless.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
- 2 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Monty Python-inspired Australian Sam Simmons wins comedy award with 'very silly' show
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge?'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director promises most exciting premiere yet 'starts off with a bang'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Online toy marathon to launch new film
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says jobless migrants should be banned from entering the UK