A few weeks ago, a cold sent me home for a few days. Feeling bad was bad enough until I realized I didn’t have anything to read. Quel horreur!
I rummaged around the house and finally found a 1000-page paperback of Edward Rutherfurd’s Sarum that I had picked up at a used book store years ago. I’m not sure, but I think I’d bought it to take on a trip. I never took the book, or maybe I never took the trip, because thankfully, I never read the book. A few weeks later, healthier now, I’m still engrossed in this wonderful imaginary trek across millennia.
Beginning with the earliest Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, Sarum follows five families of Southern England around what is today Salisbury Plain and two of its most famous landmarks, Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge. Men and women eke out a living on the high chalk plain, develop agriculture, build towns and Roman roads, and later factories, drive cars and watch televisions.
It is the people’s near-mystical attraction to their fruitful land that weaves in and out of this 40,000 year-long narrative and it makes for compelling reading. The people and their stories come and go but their love of the land is a constant, tied nicely together by a few little literary conceits that I don’t want to give away.
I’m glad I’m feeling better. And I’m glad I discovered Edward Rutherfurd’s Sarum. You can reserve it here.