Why this book?
There’s a sort of electric thrill on opening a book, reading the first sentence, and realising that you are about to plunge into something strange, wonderful, and expansive. It’s like labouring up a hill towards a distant ridge and then, on cresting the ridge, finding a whole new unsuspected world opening up before you. It was like that for me when first reading Godric. “Five friends I had, and two of them snakes.” That’s the first line in the book. If, like me, you read that and are immediately interested, then read on, for you won’t be disappointed. Godric takes an almost forgotten figure from history, a 12th-century hermit, and, by the magic of an almost alchemical use of language, brings him and his times to life, neither diminishing their strangeness nor distancing him from the reader.