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Father Angwin, Fetherhoughton's disbelieving priest, has--much to the displeasure of his superiors--grown comfortable with the entrenched, misapprehending devoutness of his flock. Fludd, who may or may not be the curate sent to deliver the wayward, exerts an immediate, if unexpected, influence. He intrigues the townspeople, flusters the church's gaggle of nuns, kindles a welcome self-examination in Father Angwin, and arouses the passion of the young and yearning Sister Philomena. A charge of possibility suddenly animates the village, accompanied by several incidents that seem midway between coincidence and miracle. Fludd, however, remains beset by an insistent disillusionment--his clarity, it seems, arcs outward only.
Mantel's cramped and pliant village is a marvel. Fetherhoughton "wrestles not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world," insists the dour headmistress, Mother Perpetua. A local tobacconist, not so trivially, just might be the devil in human garb. Fludd's gift lies in unearthing all the lovely and fearsome truths buried just beneath the surface. "The frightening thing is that life is fair," he observes, "but what we need... is not justice but mercy." The fruits of this conviction, in Fetherhoughton, are rebellion, self-assertion, and even scandal; but Mantel's lovely tale suggests that difficult possibility is fair compensation for a sloughed predictability. --Ben Guterson
I wanted to really like this book.....And liked/appreciated most of the plot elements.....I even liked the cold/dark tones throughout the book.... Read morePublished 16 hours ago by Janetlyn Fassbinder
An achingly hilarious depiction of the extent to which organized religion can muddle and befuddle the most earnest of the faithful.Published 16 days ago by Sharon Rusu
Having read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies I enjoyed this change of pace with Hilary Mantel. It is a light weight puzzler with interesting character development and surprising... Read morePublished 1 month ago by JohnRL
This slim novel is a joy to read. Apparently the writing is quite different from Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies but I look forward to reading those much larger works anyway.Published 1 month ago by James L.
Hilary Mantel is a genius. This is sly comment on religious life; based on experience, she is fair in her sly reports. May her pen never dry. Not to be missed.Published 1 month ago by Azaz
It deals with aspects of Catholicism in the mid 20th century that I have heard about but not experienced. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Susan Cooke
Hilary Mantel having been brought up in Glossop, it's a fair bet that the fictional Derbyshire mill town of Fetherhoughton derives in part from there. Read morePublished 4 months ago by D. Morris