In the summer of 1920, Tom Birkin, a shell-shocked young veteran of the Great War, comes to a small church deep in the Yorkshire Dales, where news of world events is scarce and whole villages meet for Sunday picnics. He has been hired to restore a ‘Doom’ painting of Christ’s last judgement, concealed for hundreds of years on the church wall. Deeply scarred by grief and the horrors of his experiences in the trenches, Tom is slowly drawn out of his isolation, by the slow, comfortable rhythms of English country life and by a young married woman’s sometimes wary, sometimes playful, efforts. The month in the country becomes a glorious summer, but as the work of restoration on the painting continues, secrets rise to the surface.
Carr’s classic book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1980. The Folio Society edition, first published in 1999, is evocatively illustrated by Ian Stephens and introduced by Ronald Blythe, author of Akenfield and the 20th century’s finest writer on rural England.
Review by fchin123 on 1st Jan 2013
"This is superlative meditative writing. It may not be as lyrical as Laurie Lee's As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, but perhaps more honest in tone. The narrative length is just about right and th..." [read more]