Cuddy by Benjamin Myers - review by George Cochrane

George Cochrane

St Cuthbert’s Collage

Cuddy

By

Bloomsbury Circus 464pp £20
 

The adjective is much overused, but there isn’t a better one to describe Benjamin Myers’s latest novel than ‘polyphonic’. The first of its voices is that of Cuddy himself, otherwise known as St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, whom we meet not on that famous island but on his deathbed on Inner Farne in AD 687. Delivered in free verse reminiscent of Basil Bunting’s Briggflatts, his dying words open what is Myers’s most experimental novel to date.

The book’s next voice belongs to Ediva, a tenth-century acolyte of Cuthbert whose visions lead her brethren to Dun Holm, now Durham. She too speaks in verse, though of a more perfunctory kind than Cuthbert’s. The most successful parts of this section are the collage-style miscellanies that fill in

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