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To Calais, In Ordinary Time


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About the Author

James Meek is the author of six novels including The People's Act of Love which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won both the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Scottish Arts Council Award. It has been published in more than thirty countries. Meek's last novel The Heart Broke In was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award and he has also written two collections of short stories and a book of non-fiction, Private Island,which won the 2015 Orwell Prize. He is a Contributing Editor to the London Review of Books and writes regularly for the Guardian and New York Times. He lives in London.


Fans of intelligent historical fiction will be enthralled by a story so original and so fully imagined. Meek shows the era as alien, which it is, and doesn't falsify it by assimilating it to ours. But his characters are recognisably warm and human -- HILARY MANTEL
An inventive and original novel that captures the distant past and pins it to the page * * The Times, Book of the Month * *
A glorious imaginative feat, full of complex, compelling, believable characters. Rarely have I been so captivated by a novel, so keen to hurry back to it and reimmerse myself in its world -- SARAH WATERS
Meek employs great linguistic invention and remarkable imagination to conjure up a world in which readers rapidly become immersed * * Sunday Times, Books of the Year * *
An astounding linguistic fantasy about the advent of the Black Death. French, Anglo-Saxon and Latin collide in a world of fake news, uncertain sexual borders and the dread of a catastrophe which looks in some ways very much like our own -- PHILIP HENSHER * * Spectator, Books of the Year * *
Meek brilliantly creates a variety of voices, and a language appropriate to the 14th century, for a story of the distant past with unsettling echoes of the present * * Sunday Times * *
A triumphant medieval fable . . . At the centre of this beautiful novel is an exploration of the difference between romance and true love, allegory and reality, history and the present. It plays out in unexpected and delightful ways, and it would be unfair to make these explicit. To Calais, In Ordinary Time ends with a consummation both of its technique and of its story that is affirming, tender and a little bit glorious * * Guardian * *
Ambitious . . . Through skilful deployment of language, Meek manages to craft a living, breathing world populated with characters that come alive in the mind . . . This is a fine novel that seems to speak across centuries with more than the likeness of truth * * Financial Times * *
An extraordinary act of literary ventriloquism . . . A stained-glass window to the past . . . Be it essay or article, novel or short story, as a writer and time traveller James Meek does things differently and as readers we are all the better for that * * Sunday Times * *
I loved James Meek's To Calais, In Ordinary Time. It felt like stepping into a different era, and I believed in it ferociously -- JENNY COLGAN * * Spectator, Books of the Year * *

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