'What the doctor ordered . . . a fiercely funny novel.' Sunday Times

It is the year of our Lord 1349 and it is the season of the Plague.

Novice friar Brother Diggory, now sixteen, has lived in the Monastery of the Order of St Odo at Whye since his eighth birthday. But his life is about to change. The sickness is creeping ever closer and the monks must attend to the victims. When Brother Diggory is nominated to tend to those afflicted, he realises he is about to meet the Plague, and that it is more powerful than him. What he doesn't realise is that encountering an illness and understanding it are two quite different things.

An uproarious and uplifting novel about sickness and health, the fashions of 14th Century medicine, and how perhaps we're never quite as cutting-edge as we might like to believe.

Hurdy gurdy - Christopher P. Wilson

9780571361946
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Title
Hurdy gurdy
Author
Christopher P. Wilson
format
Hardback
Publisher
Faber & Faber
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20210121

'What the doctor ordered . . . a fiercely funny novel.' Sunday Times

It is the year of our Lord 1349 and it is the season of the Plague.

Novice friar Brother Diggory, now sixteen, has lived in the Monastery of the Order of St Odo at Whye since his eighth birthday. But his life is about to change. The sickness is creeping ever closer and the monks must attend to the victims. When Brother Diggory is nominated to tend to those afflicted, he realises he is about to meet the Plague, and that it is more powerful than him. What he doesn't realise is that encountering an illness and understanding it are two quite different things.

An uproarious and uplifting novel about sickness and health, the fashions of 14th Century medicine, and how perhaps we're never quite as cutting-edge as we might like to believe.

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Christopher Wilson is the author of several novels including Gallimauf's Gospel, Baa, Blueglass, Mischief, Fou, The Wurd, The Ballad of Lee Cotton and Nookie. His work has been translated into several languages, adapted for the stage and twice shortlisted for the Whitbread Fiction Prize.

Wilson completed a published PhD on the psychology of humour at LSE, worked widely as a research psychologist and semiotic consultant, and lectured for ten years at Goldsmiths' College, London University. He has taught creative writing in prisons, at university and for The Arvon Foundation.
He lives in North London.

There is a cure for pandemic gloom. What you need to do is read a funny novel about an even more deadly plague, the Black Death of the 14th century. Hurdy Gurdy is that novel . . . this novel is as short and funny as Dudley Moore. A read made for plague-fogged brains.
The Times

Of the Covid-inflected novels expected this year, few will be as weirdly entertaining as this cautionary tale.
Mail on Sunday

The Black Death seems an improbable subject for a comic novel, but Wilson takes up the challenge, and the result is fiercely funny.
Sunday Times

Hurdy Gurdy bubbles with a convivial, earthy humour and Brother Diggory is an amusing antihero. The prose is highly evocative, full of flesh and blood . . . This is an entertaining and atmospheric picaresque - though in the midst of our own pandemic, Wilson's satire of misguided churchmen and unscientific plague doctors feels somewhat quaint: our own leaders appear far more monstrous. Still, it is often ingenious and frequently hilarious. Brother Diggory kills many, yet survives to tell the tale. I for one am glad.
The Guardian

Ribald yet deeply touching.
Observer

Christopher Wilson's 10th novel, set against the backdrop of a medieval pestilence, is salutary: not only does it serve as a reminder that we've prevailed over this sort of thing before, it's also genuinely and therapeutically funny.
Telegraph

the core of Hurdy Gurdy is the human striving for understanding, be it spiritual or medical, and our capacity for self-delusion.
The Herald

A supremely witty, sharp and rollicking piece of satirical story-telling. With echoes of Candide and Don Quixote, this gem of a novel, following the fate of the hapless novice, Brother Diggory, in his journey of discovery during the Black Death, had me captivated. Laugh-out-loud funny, Hurdy Gurdy confirms Christopher Wilson as a truly original voice in historical fiction.
Elizabeth Fremantle

Wilson's doodles and detours combine into a high-spirited, richly coloured panorama of High Gothic imagery and ideas...If our bumptious young healer-monk grabs the last word, Wilson himself has the last laugh. Even in pandemic times, he hints, comedy is the superpower to purge one-eyed, self-deluding humankind.
Financial Times

A picaresque road trip . . . The effect is a little like Chaucer as told by Adrian Mole.
Spectator

Gloriously entertaining and profoundly moving . . . Chris is a master of the tragi-comic, and one of our finest observers of humanity's definitive absurdities and graces.
Stephen Kelman

I adored this clever and funny novel about a novice monk making his way through plague-struck medieval England. The prose is artful and tender. It fizzes from the first page, drawing you into Brother Diggory's tragic, yet uplifting tale.
Nikki Marmery

Pleasure in its rawest form.
Bookmunch

This is an enthralling read.
Historical Novel Society

Type
BOOK
Edition
Hardback original
Keyword Index
Plague - England - History - To 1500 - Fiction.|Monks - England - History - To 1500 - Fiction.|Historical fiction.|Humorous stories.
Country of Publication
England
Number of Pages
240

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