Ulverton - Adam ThorpeVintage, 2004, Paperback ..
At the heart of this extraordinary novel lies the fictional village of Ulverton on the Wessex Downs of England: the fixed point in the book's 300-year cycle of history, both its backdrop and its central character. A dozen accounts, narrated by a dozen different voices, tell the story of Ulverton through the generations: a soldier in Cromwell's army returns to find his wife remarried, and promptly vanishes; an eighteenth-century farmer introduces scientific planting methods and carries on an affair with a maid under his wife's nose; during a 1980s TV documentary, real estate developers discover a soldier's skeleton, dated to the time of Cromwell… Starting from a bedrock of folk tale, myth, and oral tradition, Adam Thorpe builds his narrative out of diaries, sermons, drunken pub conversations, letters, and film scripts - each of them evoking the style and substance of its particular era, and all threaded through with recurrent motifs and images. The result is a dense, richly allusive portrait of the village as palimpsest, with its stories written onto place and into time. Highly inventive, darkly erotic, by turns hilarious and deeply moving, Adam Thorpe's novel, a best seller in England, is a brilliant performance which offers the reader a creative role as one more participant in the ongoing drama that is Ulverton.
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