The Quickening Maze

The Quickening Maze

eBook - 2010
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Based on real events--tells the deeply moving story of the great nature poet John Clare and his fall into madness.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2010
ISBN: 9780307399113
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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Jul 27, 2012

This book was obviously written by a poet. It is post-modern narrative fragments about the nature poet, John Clare, set in 1840. Clare is in a private asylum run by Matthew Allen, with Tennyson a nearby character. It rang true somehow.

patienceandfortitude Feb 22, 2012

Very interesting and well written. A historical novel, with some characters who are caught up in madness, others who are trapped in pride and the young who are searching for a meaningful life. The narrative jumps from person to person, which can be confusing at times. It is also unclear what is real and what is madness, but that is part of what makes the book interesting.

debwalker Dec 08, 2010

An intricate homage to two nineteenth-century poets.

May 17, 2010

This book went pretty quickly, but not to the benefit of the story.

Like a broken record player that alternately skips and speeds up, the narrative jerks around and doesn’t spend enough time dancing with each character. The time it does spend is often to an unfamiliar song that I can’t catch the tune of, but want to.

I liked the portrayal of Tennyson, even without knowing much about him to begin with. His was a portrayal that was served well by the skipping needle of the narrative because when it landed on him the song was deep and evocative and the mystery was appropriate. For the characters that aren’t famously historical, this approach just didn’t give me enough time to get to know them or figure out what was going on with a lot of them before the mad dance abruptly stopped.

Dec 25, 2009

I enjoy discovering new authors (to me) by reading selections from the Booker lists. A melancholic poetic book set in a mental asylum in Victorian England. Shortlisted in 2009.

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