"To become a nun in the fourteenth century was often a business transaction rather than a spiritual calling; it is small wonder, then, that the inhabitants of the Benedictine convent of Oby are prey to worldly ambitions, frustrations, pleasures and jealousies. An outbreak of the Black Death the collapse of the convent spire and a disappearance are the dramas that strike this cloistered community, which is brought vividly to life in Sylvia Townsend Warner's masterpiece"--
A unique novel about life in a 14th-century convent by one of England's most original authors.
Sylvia Townsend Warner&;s The Corner That Held Them is a historical novel like no other, one that immerses the reader in the dailiness of history, rather than history as the given sequence of events that, in time, it comes to seem. Time ebbs and flows and characters come and go in this novel, set in the era of the Black Death, about a Benedictine convent of no great note. The nuns do their chores, and seek to maintain and improve the fabric of their house and chapel, and struggle with each other and with themselves. The book that emerges is a picture of a world run by women but also a story&;stirring, disturbing, witty, utterly entrancing&;of a community. What is the life of a community and how does it support, or constrain, a real humanity? How do we live through it and it through us? These are among the deep questions that lie behind this rare triumph of the novelist&;s art.