The Quickening Maze

Adam Foulds, Penguin, $15 paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-14-311779-7
Foulds's erudite, Booker-shortlisted debut follows three men—Dr. Matthew Allen, mad peasant poet John Clare, and prodigious pipe-smoking poet Alfred Tennyson—as their fates intertwine at the High Beach mental institution outside of 1837 London. Worried over the cost of the wedding for his eldest daughter, Matthew invents a machine to mass-produce filigreed wood furniture. Ignoring the asylum for his business pursuits, Matthew seeks investors, including the Tennyson family, of whom Alfred's brother, Septimus, is a patient at High Beach. John, meanwhile, spirals into a fantasy world fueled by his obsession with a dead childhood sweetheart, Mary. Things become complicated when John deludes himself into thinking a fellow patient is his dead love. All the while, Alfred, who is at the asylum to be near his brother, is fruitlessly pursued by Matthew's adolescent daughter, Hannah. While Alfred, unfortunately, is the least convincing character, John's madness is richly imagined, and Matthew comes off as powerfully sympathetic as he grows ever more desperate to raise funds for his business gamble. There's a manneredness to the storytelling that devotees of 19th-century British literature will appreciate. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/17/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
Show other formats
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4090-7717-6
Paperback - 258 pages - 978-0-09-953244-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4561-3089-3
Hardcover - 264 pages - 978-1-4084-6122-8
Hardcover - 6 pages - 978-1-4074-5828-1
Hardcover - 258 pages - 978-0-224-08746-9
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-307-39910-6
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-307-39911-3
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.