You may have heard of The Wake, and if you have, the thing you likely heard about it is that it’s told in a sort of invented version of Old English that you get used to quite quickly. That’s true, and solving that easily deciphered puzzle is part of the fun of the book (most of the new (old?) words are easily understood, though I did have to turn to the glossary to realize that “fnaerettan” means “snoring”). But the real power of the book is the story, an elemental tale of the Norman Invasion from the losing, Anglo-Saxon point of view, a tight little saga of terror, hope, ferocity, and despair that’s made even more powerful by the slight strangeness of the language. It’s one of my favorite books of the year.
—Tom Nissley, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA
Immerse yourself in the world of The Wake at Phinney Books or a local, independent bookstore near you. While you’re at it, you should also check out A Reader’s Book of Days, available now in paperback– authored by Tom of Phinney Books!