Novel of the week: Hurdy Gurdy by Christopher Wilson
A ‘bawdy, good-natured’ novel about a novice monk with ‘raging hormones’
Christopher Wilson’s “bawdy, good-natured” novel is the perfect read for “plague-fogged brains”, said Robbie Millen in The Times. Set in 1349, it is narrated by Brother Diggory, a novice monk with “raging hormones” who is forced to leave his monastery when an outbreak of the Black Death occurs. Having previously only been allowed to laugh on feast days, Diggory now finds himself in a “dangerous, fallen world”, in which every manner of temptation lurks. “What could possibly go wrong?” Narrated at an impressively “fast clip”, this is a novel “as short and funny as Dudley Moore”.
Reasoning that “Our Saviour loves no one so much as the repentant sinner”, Diggory eagerly devotes himself to pleasure-seeking, said Christopher Shrimpton in The Guardian. “Have you not tried the gobbledegoo,” asks one lady of the bedchamber. He has not, but he is eager to try. Yet those he meets tend to come off worse from the encounter: Diggory, it emerges, is an early super-spreader. Convivial, earthy and “highly evocative” in its prose, Hurdy Gurdy is an “entertaining and atmospheric picaresque”.
Faber 256pp £14.99; The Week Bookshop £11.99
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