by Matthew Kneale
1289. A rich farmer fears he'll go to hell for cheating his neighbours. His wife wants pilgrim badges to sew into her hat and show off at church. A poor, ragged villager is convinced his beloved cat is suffering in the fires of purgatory and must be rescued. A mother believes her son's dangerous illness is punishment for her own adultery and seeks forgiveness so he may be cured. A landlord is in trouble with the church after he punched an abbot on the nose. A sexually driven noblewoman seeks a divorce so she can marry her new young beau.
These are among a ragtag band of pilgrims that sets off on the tough and dangerous journey from England to Rome, where they hope all their troubles and their prayers will be answered. Some in the group, however, have their own secret reasons for going. Others, while they might aspire to piety, succumb all too often to the sins of the flesh.
A riveting, sweeping novel of medieval society and historic Englishness, Pilgrims illuminates the fallibility of humans, the absurdities and consolations of belief, and the very real violence at the heart of religious fervour.
An enthralling and wonderfully vivid novel from a master storyteller., Joseph O'Connor
Matthew Kneale's new novel could hardly be a more welcome getaway... Humane outrage pulses through this novel along with comic ebullience., Sunday Times
There's a sly, humane comedy in the way Kneale ventriloquises both the stranglehold of religious law on daily life and thought and the endlessly inventive individual efforts to exploit and interpret it., Guardian, Justine Jordan
Diverting [...] an enjoyable exploration of ancient English beliefs and loyalties that still have disquieting echoes today., Evening Standard, Nick Curtis
Kneale's medieval world is animated with a refreshing lightness of touch., Sunday Telegraph
Matthew Kneale was born in 1960, the son and grandson of writers, and he grew up in suburban London. After studying modern history at Oxford he began writing in Tokyo, where he worked as an English teacher. He travelled whenever he was able, visiting more than eighty countries and seven continents, and tried his hands at learning a number of languages from Spanish and Italian to Japanese, Albanian, Romanian and Amharic Ethiopian. He has written a volume of themed short stories and five novels, including ‘English Passengers,’ which was a finalist for the Booker Prize and won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award. His last two books have been non-fiction history, the latest of which, ‘Rome: a History in Seven Sackings’ looks at the long past of his adoptive home of the last 15 years, the city of Rome.
Atlantic Books is an independent British publishing house founded in 2000. It has since developed a list that has a world-wide reputation for quality, originality and breadth, and includes fiction, history, politics, memoir and current affairs. Publishers of recent successes such as bestsellers My Sister the Serial Killer, Call Me By Your Name,Crazy Rich Asians, Wild and Why We Get the Wrong Politicians, Atlantic Books strives to publish some of the very best fiction and non-fiction written today, from its headquarters in the heart of literary London.View all titles
- Publisher Atlantic Books
- Publication Date June 2020
- Orginal LanguageEnglish
- ISBN/Identifier 9781786492371
- Publication Country or regionUnited Kingdom
- Publish StatusPublished
- Copyright Year2020
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