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Fludd: A Novel Paperback – June 1, 2000
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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
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The engaging aspect of this story is that the reader never understands the nature of the being called Fludd, a mystery also grazing Angwin's perception during his first meal with Fludd, when the former observed:
"Whenever (he) looked up at (Fludd), it seemed that his whiskey glass was raised to his lips, but the level of what was in it did not seem to go down; and yet from time to time the young man reached out for the bottle, and topped himself up. It had been the same with their late dinner, there were three sausages on Father Fludd's plate, and he was always cutting into one or other, and spearing a bit on his fork; he was always chewing in an unobtrusive, polite way, with his mouth shut tight. And yet there were always three sausages on his plate, until at last, quite suddenly, there were none."
Is Fludd a man, or something ... else. He can tell fortunes by looking at the palm of one's hand.Read more ›
describe what I've read. It reminds me of so many
British films that I've seen over the years where you
never know exactly what's going on, but you like it
In FLUDD we're presented with an obscure town in England
called Fetherhoughton. This is not your lovely little
English village where the characters of Rosamund Pilcher
live. No, this seems to be a dark and depressing place
which is surrounded by moors. Within this town there is
a church located next to a convent of nuns. The parish
priest, Father Angwin is a seemingly kind man who has a
problem with faith: he has lost his. His very
disagreeable Bishop is always after Father Angwin to
make changes and modernize his church. In fact,
the Bishop makes some ridiculous demands which the
parish fulfills and then insinuates that Father Angwin
needs assistance. Enter Father Fludd who apparently is
the new curate and has come to rescue the church and
the people of Fetherhoughton.
Father Angwin, his housekeeper, Agnes Dempsey, and the
young Irish nun, Sister Philomena all need help in one way
or other. Then, there is the very sinister Judd McEvoy
who runs the town's tobacco shop. He appears to cast a
dark cloud over everything. Father Fludd definitely
makes a difference, but who is he and where does he
come from? None of the other characters seem able
to describe the mysterious Fludd.
A story unlike any other. An excellent read!
We are somewhere in northern England in the mid-1950s in Fetherhoughton, a grimy village peopled by ignorant and superstitious mill workers. Their spiritual needs are met by Father Angwin, a strictly traditional Catholic priest who long ago lost his faith in God but holds his life together through orthodox adherence to the traditional religious forms. "Faith is dead," the father says. "And faith being dead, if we are not to become automatons we must hang on to our superstitions as hard as we may."
The villagers send their ill-shod children to be educated in a school staffed by sadistic nuns with names like Mother Perpetua and Sister Polycarp. Father Angwin says of his parishioners, "These people aren't Christians. These people are heathens and Catholics." He himself is lost in weighty theological questions such as whether meat drippings may be used to fry fish on Fridays.
One day, the local Bishop visits Father Angwin and tells him he must bring his church and his practices up to date. That means getting rid of the array of statues of minor saints all except three.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Delightful story with lots of droll humor. Pokes gentle fun at all things ecclesiastical.Published 15 days ago by Carlos Wilton
Engaging well drawn characters, the mystery man at the center surprises even himself. A stormy afternoon well spent on the couch this book in hand.Published 15 days ago by Kay Sweeper
Having been at a Convent school in 1951/2 I could relate to this. However for those not interested in religious development the book could be frustratingly slow.Published 1 month ago by Wendi E Maxwell
Hilary Mantel is just great. I'd recommend Wolf Hall ahead of this if you want to get a taste of her writing.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Beautifully written with humor. Thought provoking, evocative, . . Two readings reveal its deep language richness.Published 4 months ago by Ida R. Johnson
BORING! I would NOT recommend Fludd. Save your time and your money!Published 5 months ago by M Carpenter
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 7 months ago by Janetlyn Fassbinder