The Wake is a historical novel set in the deep mythic past. It is hung carefully on the known historical facts about the almost forgotten, decade-long war of underground resistance which spread across England in the decade after 1066. Most importantly – certainly most strangely – it is written entirely in its own language: Kingsnorth’s interpretation of Old English, recreated for modern eyes and ears.
The Wake is an ageless story of the collapse of certainties and lives; a tale of lost gods and haunted visions, narrated by a man of the Lincolnshire fens bearing witness to the end of his world.
Set during the Norman invasion of 1066, The Wake won the 2014 Gordon Burn Prize and the Bookseller Book of the Year Award, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Folio Prize and the Desmond Elliott Prize, and was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize.
‘Has a fierceness about it that gives it real heft … a literary triumph’ – Adam Thorpe, The Guardian
‘An astonishing accomplishment.’ – Geoff Dyer
‘The Wake is a masterpiece. My top book of the year.’ – Eleanor Catton, winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize
‘Haunting … more truly relevant to where we are now than many of the other books on the Man Booker longlist.’ – Daily Mail