The Short Day Dying
By Peter Hobbs
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780156032414, 208pp.)
Publication Date: March 2006
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This is the story of four seasons in the life of Charles Wenmoth, a twenty-seven-year-old apprentice blacksmith and Methodist lay preacher in Cornwall in 1870. Life is at its hardest; poverty is everywhere. Charles crosses and recrosses the raw, beautiful landscape, attending to the sick and helping the poor, preaching in chapels with ever-dwindling congregations. He questions his faith along the way but never quite loses it, balancing it with the pleasure he takes in nature, the light in the skies, the colors of the earth, and in his attachment to a girl to whom he is drawn by the piety and patience she maintains despite her long illness.
Inspired by the language of his great-great-grandfather's diaries and the Bible, influenced by authors as diverse as Hardy, Blake, and Faulkner, Peter Hobbs has created a first novel of breathtaking ambition and stylistic innovation, and of enormous emotional power.
The descendant of Methodist lay preachers, PETER HOBBS lives in London. The Short Day Dying is his first novel.
UK PRAISE FOR THE SHORT DAY DYING
"How rare it is to come across a new novel as beautifully conceived and finished as this. We are enclosed completely in a world of faith and belief that has been made to feel utterly authentic . . . A wonderful book."-THE OBSERVER
"A richly resonant novel . . . beautifully evocative."
-THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
"[A] splendid debut novel...[Wenmouth''s] faith-struggle is mirrored by his perceptions of nature, which powerfully suggest both the presence of a deity and his seeming absence...Reminiscent of "The Diary of a Country Priest"; shortlisted for the British 2005 Whitbread Award for first novels, and rightly so....["The Short Day Dying"] is a powerful book, a look inside a harrowed man''s soul."
"Breathtaking in both content and style, The Short Day Dying is a treasure rarely found in modern literature. Rich in the language of faith, this first novel is a hauntingly powerful portrait of the tenuous hold even the most devoted have as they walk between faith and doubt, day by day." (Summer 2006 selection)
"The deeply colored novel...reveals Hobbs'' sensual immersion in the world around him..."