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Cuddy: Winner of the 2023 Goldsmiths Prize

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But the final section of the novel, though somewhat bleak, tells the story of modern Britain with its zero hour contracts and poor nutrition for those struggling to survive. Characters recur, the haliwerfolk, two in particular: the boy with owlish eyes in a number of forms and Ediva, the cook in the first book also recurs in various forms.

Myers’ short story ‘The Folk Song Singer’ was awarded the Tom-Gallon Prize in 2014 by the Society Of Authors and published by Galley Beggar Press. Breaking the book up into sections, each one a different style, is an interesting concept but badly executed poetry and some of the worst "Scottish" dialogue I've ever read in a small play that forms the Interlude stops me from enjoying it. The pacing, sense of place and period, and the personal stories of its protagonists in Cuddy grip from the beginning and keep a firm hold right through its 400+ pages.But I can recognise that this is a step up from what Myers has written before, and that it will bring him to the attention of people who perhaps haven't read his work before.

It's going to be hard to find a reader who loves every section equally and there will inevitably be highs and lows. The symbiosis of poetry and story, of knowledge and deep love, marks out Cuddy as a singular and significant achievement. My expectations were only met piecemeal, more consistently in the first half than in the second half. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. The final book is the story of Michael, a teenager labourer who in 2017 begins work at the cathedral among the repairs to the medieval masonry.We use Google Analytics to see what pages are most visited, and where in the world visitors are visiting from.

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. While his actual life is mostly myth and legend, his posthumous wanderings are points of fact and history. And the way that certain characters (eg an owl-eyed boy) and certain motifs (eg wild garlic) echo through the ages makes the sum greater than its sometimes flawed parts. 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.

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. He never knew his father, who has done time in prison, and his lack of qualifications leaves him dependent on zero-hours labouring contracts. Combining prose, poetry, play, diary and real historical events, this audacious tour de force from the author of The Gallows Pole and The Perfect Golden Circle traces the story of St Cuthbert - unofficial patron saint of the North of England - through the centuries and the voices of ordinary people. I also visited Durham and Lindisfarne last month and always love a setting-driven story and was curious about the central St Cuthbert. The playscript of the interlude and the ornate pastiche of the Victorian ghost story lead us to the rich and resonant prosody of the final section, its twin emphasis on sense of place and societal disjuncture keenly familiar from Myers’s previous work in novels including The Gallows Pole and The Perfect Golden Circle.

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