Elspeth Barker

Grub Will Tear Us Apart

John Saturnall’s Feast


Bloomsbury 408pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Once upon a time in a woodland palace overlooking the Vale of Buckland, a spirit or pagan goddess or genius loci called Buccla spread her tables with great feasts. Men and women sat together and exchanged their affections. In her gardens everything grew; fish and flesh and fowl willingly offered themselves. People were happy then to live together; they did not see life as necessary and thankless labour. But Jehovah’s man Coldcloak came: he enjoyed Buccla’s hospitality then tore up her gardens and chopped up her tables and burned her palace and denounced her as a witch.

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