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The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth
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The Wake (2014)

by Paul Kingsnorth

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4092037,527 (3.65)1 / 40
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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I tried this book both in print and as audio. The audio was nice to listen too, I enjoyed the language and the idea of this other history. But ultimately the story was taking forever to move forward, and I got bored and bailed. I am sure there are some who really loved this, but it wasn't for me.
  SoubhiKiewiet | Mar 20, 2018 |
The best novel, and best book, that I read in 2017.

Imagine if Robin Hood was real, but was a member of the 1066 version of British National Party, and instead of stealing from the rich, he just murdered a couple of French soldiers and spent most of his time trying to survive winter in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Then imagine if this story was written in a daring approximation of Old English, excluding all modern and French-derived words, and was the first crowdfunded book to be longlisted for the Booker Prize.

I loved everything about this book, and the news that Mark Rylance has bought the rights for a potential film felt like the literary equivalent of finding £20 in an old pair of trousers.

Want to understand angry, disenfranchised, British men? Then read this, especially if those particular men happen to have been born before the Edward the Second. ( )
1 vote sometimeunderwater | Feb 19, 2018 |
I read this book almost as a companion book to the History of English podcast that I follow. The book was mentioned there, so I had to attempt to read it. At first, the language was a little hard to handle, but the more I read, the more natural the language became for me. The book is in English but uses only letters found in the Old English alphabet and using only words that have their origin in Old English, for the most part. Many of the spellings of words that were mentioned in the podcast are found in this book. An example would be "cyng", which we know as "king". The pronunciation is different, but the etymology is effident.
The story itself is also quite good. It's interested to read of the Norman invasion from the point of view of an Anglo Saxon, Buccmaster, the main character is an engaging fellow whom I immediately came to like. There is some humor within the story, but mostly there are the hardships that the Anglo Saxons faced as their way of life was changed by the invaders. ( )
1 vote hobbitprincess | Feb 10, 2018 |
While it takes focus (and nerdery) to get into the Anglo-Saxon/modern English pidgin language the book is written in, the reward is worth it. Often perceived as the birth of modern England, we see the flip side of the Norman invasion through the eyes of a flawed narrator. While this could have easily been a Braveheart-like revenge story, it introduces enough complexities to keep the reader interested and sympathizing with the narrator's companions: unsure whether this is a man worth following after all. ( )
  bobholt | Dec 3, 2017 |
(Rating: 5.0 /5.0, even) ( )
  rabbit.blackberry | Oct 19, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Truly understanding The Wake therefore entails taking on Buccmaster’s suffering, paring down the rich variety of your own language as you watch the French strip everything from him. Understanding him and empathizing with him are one and the same, a coin’s face and its obverse. It took me just about 50 pages to get a feel for it—50 pages before his syntax settled into my bones, before his voice came through clearly, before his heartbreak was mine. Though different readers will experience the book in different ways, I suspect I’m not alone in reaching that 50-page milestone. If you’re not at ease by this point, you’re unlikely to keep reading.

The trouble is that Buccmaster may not be worthy of the empathy we develop.
added by elenchus | editslate.com, Jacob Brogan (Sep 28, 2015)
 
Kingsnorth is a green activist, author of an attack on corporate control and blandness called Real England, and his first novel has a fierceness about it that gives it real heft.
added by melmore | editThe Guardian, Adam Thorpe (Apr 2, 2014)
 
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Epigraph
I have persecuted the natives of England beyond all reason.
Whether gentle or simple I have cruelly oppressed them.
Many I unjustly disinherited;  innumerable multitudes
perished through me by famine or the sword.

Having gained the throne of that kingdom by so many crimes, 
I dare no leave it to anyone but God.


  Deathbed confession of Guillaume Le Bâtard, 1087
England is become the residence of foreigners and the property
of strangers...they prey upon the riches and vitals of England;
nor is there any hope of a termination of this misery.


  William of Malmesbury, 1125
Dedication
First words
the night was clere though i slept i seen it.  though i slept i seen the calm hierde naht only the still.  when i gan down to sleep all was clere in the land and my dreams was full of stillness but my dreams did not cepe me still
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
A post-apocalyptic novel set a thousand years ago, The Wake tells the story of Buccmaster of Holland, a free farmer of Lincolnshire, owner of three oxgangs - a man clinging to the Old Gods as the world changes drastically around him. After losing his sons at the Battle of Hastings and his wife and home to the invading Normans, Buccmaster begins to gather together a band of 'grene men', to take up arms and resist their brutal invaders. (Blurb)
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Everyone knows the date of the Battle of Hastings. Far fewer people know what happened next...Set in the three years after the Norman invasion, 'The wake' tells the story of a fractured band of guerilla fighters who take up arms against the invaders. Carefully hung on the known historical facts about the almost forgotten war of resistance that spread across England in the decade after 1066, it is a story of the brutal shattering of lives, a tale of lost gods and haunted visions, narrated by a man of the Lincolnshire fens bearing witness to the end of his world. Written in what the author describes as 'a shadow tongue' - a version of Old English updated so as to be understandable for the modern reader - 'The wake' renders the inner life of an Anglo-Saxon man with an accuracy and immediacy rare in historical fiction. To enter Buccmaster's world is to feel powerfully the sheer strangeness of the past.… (more)

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