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The Wake

The Wake Free download ☆ 9 As “a shadow tongue” a version of Old English updated so as to be understandable to 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 A tale of lost gods and haunted visions The Wake is both a sensational gripping story and a major literary achievement Well that was uite a leap Can t say I ve ever gone from one star to five before But I revisited and finished this book and it turns out to be the impressive achievement that its fans claim It s a masterful stream of consciousness narrative told by a deeply unreliable narrator and one of the most compelling and chilling depictions of mental illness that I ve ever read It s also a beautifully crafted example of authorial subtlety not so easy from the first person perspective that deploys foreshadowing with grace and artfully conveys revelations to the reader while keeping our narrator unaware of them I think this book could easily wind up being used in high school English classes it s well constructed harrowing and short But there s another reason the experiment with language As noted everywhere Kingsnorth tells the story in a shadow language a readable but still deeply alien tongue meant to reflect elements of Old English while not striving for accuracy As you ll see below I initially found it deeply frustratingAnd I still think there are elements of the experiment that are a bit self indulgent What was gained by my not understanding until the afterword that scramasax means dagger or that socman is a class of free farmer Kingsnorth s afterword says that his intent was to accurately portray the thought patterns of people separated by time and culture and that language is an essential part of this I m not sure I buy it at least for the purposes of a novel Still the language inarguably affects the experience of reading the book It works your brain differently I found myself getting sleepy much faster than usual weirdly and it changes how you perceive Buccmaster s language with its limited vocabulary and lack of structure There s a revelatory element too as the book progresses and one begins to wonder where the lines exist between Buccmaster s ignorance and his mania It both introduces distance and sweeps you in to a place where you have no choice but to accept the flow of language All in all a neat trick and one that I ll grudgingly admit was essential But it is certainly not without its frustrationsORIGINAL REVIEW FOLLOWSBoy Screw this When authors write in dialect the subseuent conversation is often tinged with difficult racial dynamics Well here the dialect is a made up approximation of Middle English as the narrator describes the devastation of the Norman invasion in a stream of consciousness It s annoying as fuck I made it 3% through An example laboriously typed through autocorrecti will tell thu of this time my grandfather toc me trappan the ael i was a cilde a lytel cilde but my grandfather he wolde sae that the ways of the fenns moste be taught yonge or will nefer be cnawanSo yeah okay I don t really get to weigh in on this book because I didn t give it a proper chance There are some people who will enjoy the artfully added layers and the alienness of the chosen tongue For the rest of us the dialect will be a superficial gimmick and a substantial obstacle to connecting with any emotional core that the book might have And we will be inclined to punish the author with one star reviews for wasting our 9 Honestly I loved Jim Crace s Harvest from the last Booker class That novel was a historically informed first person rumination on the destruction of a kind of pastoral idyll in England I was primed to really like this book I am not going to struggle through this silly showy stunt though Get bent Mr Kingsnorth

review The Wake

The Wake Free download ☆ 9 Eyes of the unforgettable Buccmaster a proud landowner bearing witness to the end of his world Accompanied by a band of like minded men Buccmaster is determined to seek revenge on the invaders But as the men travel across the scorched English landscape Buccmaster becomes increasingly unhinged by the immensity of his loss and their path forward becomes increasingly unclear      Written in what the author describes 35 4 starsWhen we think of post apocalyptic fiction we tend to think specifically of science fiction or at least I know I do Our vision is usually either of a near future survival thriller about the fall of current human civilization into ruin most often as the result of a nuclear holocaust an ecological disaster or recently due to those pesky zombies or of the far future as we witness the after effects on a society that has fallen into utter barbarity and ruin We tend to see the apocalypse understandably as truly world ending on a global scale wherein the entirety of human civilization has been laid waste but what about an apocalypse that is restricted in its geographical extent What about one that impacts only a single nation or a culture What about an apocalypse that happens not in the future or near present but one that lies in the distant past We think or hope of apocalypses apocalypsi as rare events something so inconceivable that it could only happen when the blue moon shines but when we broaden our definitions just a little and look beyond only those events that shatter the globe and also turn our vision from the future to the past we may start to see a world that was riddled with apocalypses a world where cultures thrived and died on a regular basis It would seem that in many ways the apocalypse has been a fact of life for humanity since our infancy Countries cultures whole civilizations were destroyed as a matter of course throughout most of human history and Paul Kingsnorth s The Wake is a tale of one such apocalypse1066 is a famous year Even those ignorant of many major historical events likely know that this was the year that William alternately the Bastard and the Conueror of Normandy invaded England and defeated then king Harold Godwinson and subjugated a people This subjugation was particularly harsh even in an age known for the harshness of war and ultimately involved the destruction or was it a transmutation of a people through the decimation of their language their rights and ultimately for many of their lives The Anglo Saxon culture that then held sway admittedly itself a race of conuerors on the island was overcome by the culture of France and a way of life was seemingly decimated almost overnight Landowners lost their rights and privileges to a crown with new and far reaching powers speakers of the Anglo Saxon tongue found themselves ruled by a people that neither knew nor cared to know their language or ways nearly the entire ruling class was decimated and those beneath them learned that even the yoke they once bore was perhaps not so bad a thing when compared to the new one What is less well known is that there was for several years a guerilla war waged on the Norman invaders by some of the remaining Saxon population This war while ultimately fruitless was the last hope of many for retaining their way of life and it is the story of one such rebel that we are told in Kingsnorth s novelOne thing to note before this review goes any further is that Kingsnorth has basically created his own language in this novel and it could be a stumbling block for some He calls this language a shadow tongue since it is a fabricated version of English that incorporates many Old English words and grammatical structures in an attempt to incorporate a sense of verisimilitude with the era in which the story takes place without actually writing it in Old English It could thus be compared to what Russell Hoban did in Riddley Walker though I would argue that this is a bit easier to slide into esp if you have any background in basic OE syntax and vocabulary There is also a helpful glossary at the back of the book for some of the opaue words and terms used in the text I think as with Hoban s use of an invented language Kingsnorth s experiment is not merely a gimmick and ultimately succeeds I find far too often that historical fiction fails due to being little than modern characters dressed up in historical drag I wouldn t say that attempting to recreate a dead language in a way that can mostly be read by modern audiences is the sole solution to this problem but in this case it definitely went a long way towards immersing the reader into what is effectively a different world and certainly a different mindset When we have to meet the narrator on his own terms due to the language used we are forced to leave many of our preconceptions at the door Of course the fact that I have at least a smattering of Old English definitely helped me in acclimating myself fairly uickly but I would strongly encourage any readers even without this background to still put in the effort Once you ve picked up the gauntlet dropped by Kingsnorth I think you ll find that after a few chapters the words that were previously giving you headaches start to roll naturally off the tongueWe open on the eve of the Norman invasion and are introduced to Buccmaster of Holland a region of eastern England not the Netherlands our stalwart narrator and a socman a man of the wapentac who has three oxgangs which ultimately translates to an important man of influence and means beholden to none a fact of which he is eager to remind us every chance he gets Buccmaster tells us his tale of tragedy and woe as he recalls the day that everything started to go wrong and all of the events that followed in its wake It was as is usually the case a day much like any other aside from the fact that he witnessed an omen a strange bird in the sky that led him to believe that changes were in the air His feeble attempts at warning others fall on deaf ears and we soon learn that Buccmaster is an atavism amongst his own people a man of the old ways as taught to him by his grandfather who has rejected the hwit crist and the wave of change that has already come and significantly changed the traditions and beliefs of his people As a result he is not only something of an outcast and recluse in his own small community but also already in a position of bemoaning the lost past of his people even before the great apocalypse that will truly decimate his culture has arrived It is interesting to note that despite the tragedies that we come to see befall Buccmaster the loss of his position the burning of his home the disappearance and probable death of his sons the rape and murder of his wife Buccmaster never becomes a sympathetic character He is a man we uickly come to realize who is neither likeable nor trustworthy His words always serve a specific purpose his own perceived best interest and while it seems fairly clear to me at least that he is not deceiving us on purpose it is eually clear that his entire perception of reality and the events that go on around him are skewed Ironically it is his own words that betray him As we hear the constant justifications the repeated assurances of his own worth power and rightness the continual complaints about the wrongs to which he has been subjected by both his enemies and his friends we begin to uestion Buccmaster s grasp on reality As Buccmaster falls further and further from his position of relative comfort and influence or as obstacles to his unuestioned authority arise we start to hear the voices in his head These voices whisper to him that the old gods have returned and hand picked Buccmaster himself to bring back their ancient ways to his people and overcome the invaders Unable to accept that he is no than an outcast and outlaw living like a beast in the forest Buccmaster must instead see himself as the ordained saviour of his people and their ancient way of life You might wonder how book with a main character whose catalogue of faults and crimes matches that of Buccmaster could be readable let alone enjoyable but I found The Wake to be both Buccmaster is no saint he s not even a likeable sinner but his story of loss decline and madness is a compelling one As we are given and glimpses of both past and present events and the story of his life begins to unpeel like the skin of a rotting onion we start to see the full tragedy of Buccmaster s life and understand that the last greatest calamity of the overthrow and destruction of his people was simply the final nail in the coffin the last straw in a long line of sins disappointments and defeats It sounds an utterly gloomy tale and while it certainly isn t full of a lot of chuckles I still found it to be compelling and not so much depressing as harrowing The apocalypse of the Norman invasion may have left the globe at large much as it had been before it occurred changes in regime happen every day after all but it was no less world ending for that to the people that lived through it and came out the other side into a world a reality which they could no longer understandThe Wake is a fine piece of historical fiction that not only incorporates a truly intriguing narrative techniue and linguistic structure but also proves to be a powerful meditation on loss culture and the ways we define ourselves as both individuals and members of a wider community Definitely recommended though not for the faint of heart

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The Wake Free download ☆ 9 In the aftermath of the Norman Invasion of 1066 William the Conueror was uncompromising and brutal English society was broken apart its systems turned on their head What is little known is that a fractured network of guerrilla fighters took up arms against the French occupiers       In The Wake a postapocalyptic novel set a thousand years in the past Paul Kingsnorth brings this dire scenario back to us through the After the Norman invasion of England the French ravage and burn One man Buccmaster returns to his home to find nothing but ash and his wife s body amidst the ruinsHe takes to the woods to become a green man an outlaw with loud proclamations of his intention to raise a group to fight the French in revenge for all he has lostThe story is told in Buccmaster s own words From a narrative perspective this means that he clearly tries to paint himself in the best light possible seeking the reader s sympathy for his situation view spoilerAt first as readers we do have sympathy Certainly from the first Buccmaster seems to be all talk and little action Many of the actions he justifies to us seem pretty cowardly He s arrogant violent superstitious self entitled and certainly knows how to nurse a grudge But after all he has been a victim of brutal invaders His position as a man holding to the old ways as he imagines them from his grandfather s tales while the world has moved on around him seems poignant We expect as the story progresses that he might find redemption in some way whether through justice or spiritualityInstead the reader finds Buccmaster s character thrown into increasing doubt Finally we see an outside opinion of him These revelations trigger a crisis point where events of the past and Buccmaster s current decisions combine for a finale that s uite horrific hide spoiler