‘Has a fierceness about it that gives it real heft … a literary triumph.’ Adam Thorpe, The Guardian
‘Strange and extraordinary … this unusual novel has power. It lingers in the imagination.’ The Times
‘As disturbing as it is empathetic, as beautiful as it is riveting.’ Eimear McBride, New Statesman
‘An astonishing accomplishment.’ Geoff Dyer
‘A masterpiece. My top book of the year.’ Eleanor Catton, winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize
‘Reading Kingsnorth’s book is to be immersed in the past and in a story in a way that I haven’t really felt since childhood … the most glorious experience I’ve had with a book in years.’ Lucy Mangan, The Guardian
‘Extraordinary,’ Philip Pullman
‘A resonant, eloquent ballad of English identity, pride and fierce independence. It is a thrilling story. Read it out loud. It is like nothing else.’ Mark Rylance
My first novel, set during the Norman invasion of 1066, won the 2014 Gordon Burn Prize and the Bookseller Book of the Year Award, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Folio Prize and the Desmond Elliott Prize, and was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize.
The Wake is a historical novel set in the deep mythic past. It is hung carefully on the known historical facts about the almost forgotten, decade-long war of underground resistance which spread across England in the decade after 1066. Most importantly – certainly most strangely – it is written entirely in its own language: my interpretation of Old English, recreated for modern eyes and ears.
The Wake is an ageless story of the collapse of certainties and 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. It was published in April 2014 by Unbound.