By Ronald Blythe
Woven from the phrases of the population of a small Suffolk village within the 1960s, Akenfield is a masterpiece of twentieth-century English literature, a scrupulously saw and deeply affecting portrait of a spot and folks and a now vanished lifestyle. Ronald Blythe’s exceptional e-book increases enduring questions on the relatives among reminiscence and modernity, nature and human nature, silence and speech.
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Extra resources for Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village
Then this sudden and amazing journey to the battlefield, equipped with a gun which he understood, because of rabbiting, and a New Testament, which he alternately smoked or used for lavatory paper. ” “I got several”—the same answer to a question on how he did on a rook-drive. ” He has lived alone since his parents died during a diphtheria epidemic which broke out when he was ten, never marrying, never inviting anyone to his cottage, which is crammed with polished furniture, wine-bottles and rag rugs which he makes himself.
More and more are making it. With general car-ownership, perhaps the greatest single factor in village change since the war, a vital new class of countryman has come into existence. Only a generation or so ago, a villager who had to “go away to work” was obliged to give up the close-knit and meaningful village background of which he was an important part for lodgings in an Ipswich or Norwich backstreet. Or, conversely, village life became so suffocating and inhibiting because he had no way of occasionally getting away from it, that a young man would join the army or simply the age-old drift away from his home village which was also his prison.
Ethelberga. . Lands of Geoffrey de Magnaville. and so on, this same sloping heavy soil, so tough to plough, which dominates every view still, this same bright hard climate of wind-chilled sunshine. An oceanic climate maintained by the North Sea, which is a dozen or so miles away on the other side of a great tract of heath full of rare steppe flora, fossils and the bones of ancient men, and in which lies the royal burial ground of Sutton Hoo. 6 inches annually. Before the mains water arrived in 1944, there were droughts most summers.