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helenliz

helenliz

The Quickening Maze

The Quickening Maze - Adam Foulds I enjoyed this. It's one of those books where nothing much happens, but everything happens. There are no obvious heroes or villains, it's stocked with people doing what people do, some of them are nicer than others, but they're all just human. Set in an asylum where John Clare, the rural poet, is locked up due to his mental instability. For someone used to walking in the open to see the far horizon, this is torture of the worst kind. It also feature his fellow inmates, the asylum's owner and family, Alfred Tennyson and his brother - who's in the asylum for treatment of depression (in effect - they call it melancholia) and other assorted locals. It's written in a manner that could be seen as disjointed - you get a short chapter of an individuals actions, then move on to someone else. The separate strands start to draw together at the end, but it's not a linear narrative. If you need a plot driven book - this won't appeal - it's far more a gentle meander with snapshots of the world as you pass. The writing was, however, almost poetic in itself, lyrical would describe it.The book has a way of making you think who is really mad here. Is it John, who thinks he is several people(although usually thinks he's only one at a time)? Is it Margaret, who thinks she's on a mission from God to save souls? Is it Matthew, who allows an idea to consume him utterly? And who gets to judge what is sanity?