The Quickening Maze: A Novel
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“It has been a while since I have read a book as richly sown with beauty . . . A remarkable work, remarkable for the precision and vitality of its perceptions and for the successful intricacy of its prose.” —James Wood, The New Yorker
A visionary novel by "one of the most talented writers of his generation"—The Times Literary Supplement
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
Based on real events, The Quickening Maze won over UK critics and readers alike with its rapturous prose and vivid exploration of poetry and madness. Historically accurate yet brilliantly imagined, this is the debut publication of this elegant and riveting novel in the United States.
In 1837, after years of struggling with alcoholism and depression, the great nature poet John Clare finds himself in High Beach—a mental institution located in Epping Forest on the outskirts of London. It is not long before another famed writer, the young Alfred Tennyson, moves nearby and grows entwined in the catastrophic schemes of the hospital's owner, the peculiar Dr. Matthew Allen, his lonely adolescent daughter, and a coterie of mysterious local characters. With lyrical grace, the cloistered world of High Beach and its residents are brought richly to life in this enchanting book.