Cuddy: Winner of the 2023 Goldsmiths Prize

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Cuddy: Winner of the 2023 Goldsmiths Prize

Cuddy: Winner of the 2023 Goldsmiths Prize

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This place must have been built by brilliant minds and fuelled by a faith in something bigger, a form of faith that he now wishes he too might experience. He is an award-winning author and journalist whose recent novel Cuddy (2023) won the Goldsmiths Prize. Cuthbert was – and is – a figurehead for the North East as he was perhaps the most prominent religious figure in the North to endure down the centuries. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. This book is a challenge no doubt, and demands perseverance from its readers, not all of whom will want to take on the trouble of that task.

Although the later sections (a second-person account of the construction of Durham Cathedral, a Murder in the Cathedral-type play set in the 1650s, the excavation of his remains in the 1820s, a young man and potential descendant in 2019 Durham named Michael Cuthbert) feel pretty pretentious and less than essential, it's neat that a similar female character (Edith or Edie in later sections) recurs. The latter aspects was one of the book’s highlights for me, but the prose poetry it’s weakest element, albeit one that put Cuddy in dialogue with Letty McHugh’s brilliant Barbellion Prize winning The Book of Hours. Loyal monks and shifting bands of followers conveyed Cuthbert’s coffin to Chester-le-Street, where it remained until 995, when Viking invaders again made it necessary to move it to safety. It's bold, imaginative and I could've read the story of Cuddy's bones being carried around for many more pages!We are experiencing delays with deliveries to many countries, but in most cases local services have now resumed. If I was reading those preceding paragraphs, and without prior knowledge, I might be a little unsure, however let me assure you Cuddy really is something very special, vital and ultimately it's a very accessible and human novel.

When 2019 rolled around I went in thinking I would be disinterested, especially since it didn't instantly seem connected to the rest of the book, but actually I got drawn into Michael's story.Overall it read a bit like a guided tour of the points of interest at the cathedral (which I remembered from mine--would it have been less obvious otherwise?

The finely woven stories even use lines from the referenced works of multiple historians; an inventive way to set some historical narrative alongside the fiction. In this unique new novel by Benjamin Myers, the story of Cuddy is retold and reworked to take place over multiple centuries after the saint’s death in 687AD. But sections 3 and 4 became tiresome quickly, as we are asked again to switch styles and to abandon characters we had invested in. No, he is not that big, but when he enters you it opens you up so that it feels like the world has a tear in its fabric and white light is beaming through, illuminating, seeking a path. It is true to say that Cuddy is difficult to get into at first, because the first part is the story of the wandering band that carry Cuddy's body throughout North England.Section 2, a stream of consciousness novella about an affair after the building of Durham Cathedral, I enjoyed. The common thread is a history of St Cuthbert and Durham cathedral but within that we have experiments with form and structure. This first part is the story of the haliwerfolk, the people of the holy man, who accompanied the dead saint on his journey; the abbot and monks, the cook and the horse-boy.

This is a superb novel about St Cuthbert and Durham Cathedral which sweeps through the ages in a variety of different styles.

And I look forward to Myers next work which sounds even more innovative, “a novella set in Berlin in 1971, and it explores both the idea of public performance and challenges what actually even constitutes a ‘novel’ these days.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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