Fludd – Hilary Mantel – 7/10

“The arrival of Father Fludd in the parish was marked by a general increase in holiness”

The curate Fludd is sent to the village of Fetherhoughton to assist Father Angwin in his priestly duties. Fludd, however, is not at all as expected – to quote from the blurb: “loving beauty and language, sowing scandal and unrest in Fetherhoughton, might he not be the devil?”

Almost a month later, I’m still not quite sure what to make of Fludd.

Good things:

– small village idiosyncracies; bonus points for inter-village disputes and snobbery. Extra bonus points for absurd village name (Fetherhoughton)

– crazy, slightly love-lorn spinster housekeeper

– complacent, vaguely condescending, alcoholic priest with crisis of faith

– lovely, slightly naive, bright, “this can’t be all there is” Sister Philomena

Bad things:

– absurd night-time statue burial episode

– eminently predictable romantic sub-plot with foreseeably disappointing ending. What was wrong with the perfectly good intellectually-satisfying friendship with underlying sexual tension?

I also thought Fludd was a weak character. Judging by the quote on the back cover, there is supposed to be something devilish about him, that he might have been sent to lead Fetherhoughton astray. But then in the book he was just a bit mysterious, a few things didn’t make sense, mostly he was just there. A new character.

In summary, an excellent character study in a quirky setting, but the plot was a little undercooked for my liking.

Additional info:
This was a personal copy, having been part of a large box purchase.
Publisher: Penguin, 186 pages (paperback)
Order this from Amazon*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards giveaways.
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