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The Short Day Dying

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  106 ratings  ·  21 reviews
This is the story of four seasons in the life of Charles Wenmoth, a twenty-seven-year-old apprentice blacksmith and Methodist lay preacher in Cornwall in 1870. Life is at its hardest; poverty is everywhere. Charles crosses and recrosses the raw, beautiful landscape, attending to the sick and helping the poor, preaching in chapels with ever-dwindling congregations. He quest ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 20th 2006 by Mariner Books (first published 2005)
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Aug 22, 2009 Núria rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: realistas, depresivos,
En una época en la que prácticamente toda la literatura contemporánea parece que tiene que tratar de grandes sagas familiares, o bien tener una trama rebuscada e inverosímil que pase en diferentes países y en la que el azar juegue un papel determinante, o bien tiene que aparecer el escritor del libro como personaje o algún otro recurso de metaficción para las masas, es sorprendente encontrar un libro tan sencillo, pausado y sobrio como 'Solsticio de invierno' de Peter Hobbs, que se centra en las ...more
First thought upon finishing this book was that it was beautiful, peaceful, sad and hopeful. I had picked up this book desperately wanting to love it and was not disappointed.

Upon skimming back through it to jot down some quotes and passages that I had particularly liked, I re-discovered something that I had thought at various times throughout but had forgotten by the end: the main character is pretty whiny and self indulgent. Always crying about time going by and how he feels stuck in his posi
Peter Hobbs's book is a lovely meditation on faith and vocation. How do we carry on with what we feel is right when so much of what we experience tells us to give up? What does it mean to be faithful to our friends, family, and, for the protagonist, God? Hobbs's writing lifts off the page and you're lucky if you can grasp the odd fragment and hold it close to your heart for safe keeping.
Amanda Patchin
A lovely book. Hobbs captures the time period with evocative grammar and carefully chosen detail. A novel in the form of a journal, this book is an insightful meditation on temporality, duty, and weakness.

Many thanks to Brent for the recommendation and the loan.
A skilled and detailed portrait of rural 19th century England. Hobbs immerses the reader in well-researched discourse and authentic language. The resulting journey into the specific issues faced by a Methodist lay preacher at the turn of the century, reminding the reader of many enduring spiritual questions (generally speaking, those related to a wavering of faith) as well as many ecclesiastical questions (generally speaking, those related to a waning of attendance).

Slow-paced, not for everyone
This is a unique and beautiful book - unusual in that nothing really happens but nonetheless I found it addictive reading.

Set in Cornwall, S W England, in 1870 it cronicles a year in the life of Charles Wenmouth. Charles earns a meagre living as an apprentice blacksmith while dedicating all his spare time to walking from hamlet to hamlet preaching, visiting the sick & teaching the faith to the children. By the 1870's many of the copper and tin mines of Cornwall are exhausted and most of Char
Kathie Harper
What I will remember most about this book is VOICE. The voice of the main character Charles Wenmoth, a young lay preacher in Cornwall in 1870 is immediate and accessible as he struggles with his place in the world of a dying society dealing with the ravages of mining. Will his faith sustain him, if not him then how can he minister to his dying flock. I picked this slight book up on the staff picks at the PPL and I couldn't put it down.
Written in the style of a journal, this short novel is about a lay preacher trying to live out his faith in a small English town. He has to be holy with out being legalistic, do his duty but keep his vigor. I think the book captured the time period well with the churches entanglement with the temperance movement. Not an overly happy ending but one with hope as the main charactor developes more spiritual maturity.
This novel is set in rural England in 1870. The narrator & main character is a 27-year-old apprentice blacksmith & lay Methodist preacher. In short chapters that read very much like weekly journal entries, with regularized spelling but irregular punctuation & run-on sentences, he recounts his spiritual & material struggles over the course of that one year. His faith is inspired by the faith of a suffering young dying woman he visits regularly, but when she dies he himself suffers ...more
Russell George
It’s been a week since I finished this, but the delay reviewing has as much to do with my strange reaction as a lack of time to set my thoughts out. I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like it before.

It’s the journal of a lay Methodist preacher in south west England in around 1870, written with an authenticity similar to Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang – i.e. long sentences with little punctuation that require the reader to focus, but provide real intimacy. Our narrator, Charles
There's a clue in the title... this was such a different book from In the Orchard the Swallows except in its delicious slimness and poignancy. It is the internal monologue of a 19th Century Cornish lay preacher and blacksmith's apprentice and brings a curious combination of period piece and portrayal of what to me looks like depression or burn out.

The mood of the book is almost stifling. Charles Wenmouth has been billeted with an uncongenial landlady and works hard at learning his trade. His rea
Cornelius Browne
This powerful and utterly original short novel chronicles one year (1870) in the life of a young blacksmith and Methodist lay-preacher as he struggles with his love for God, as well as an earthly love for a blind girl living her last days in the shadow of death that our narrator has difficulty acknowledging to himself. The guileless voice belonging to this man of simple faith is deceptive - this is an intensely sophisticated work of art, bearing comparison with Faulkner or Cormac McCarthy. Hangi ...more
Paul Bisson
I'd compare the experience of reading this book to lying naked in a bath and having several buckets of cold (though perfectly made) porridge slowly poured over you. Not particularly uplifting, though certainly an experience you won't have forget. Hobbs' comma-less style is grim, drear and relentless, much like the internal wranglings of conscience endured by his protagonist. A beautifully written book, however.
Kat Mc
I told myself that I'd give it to page 50 and then decide whether or not to keep reading...I don't know if I can finish it. Maybe someday when I'm more somber/serious I could pick this back up and be introspective about the "g" word and religion and all that junk. For now, it's summer and this is too much for summer!
Besides containing a wonderfully refreshing and inspirational story about perserving through diminishing returns, the author writes in a language the is fascinating on its own. I had no idea that eliminating all commas and using the verb 'were' with singlular nouns would ad such richness to a story.
Hard work to read due to the sentence structure which often ran two sentences together, but this was part of what made it convincing so it was worth persevering. The narrator's battle with hunger, ill health, grief, over work and questioning of his faith was very moving.
Steven L.
Another classic in exploring faith and doubt. Explores in new ways what a meaningful life entails. And doesn't.
Such a lovely story, but too hard to read (no commas, poetic writing). In future I'll probably pick it up again.
Very melancholy, combined with no punctuation (which drives me crazy). I just couldn't continue.
Gordon Wilson
Didnt finish, it was a little too hard to read
Beautifully written.
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Peter Hobbs grew up in Cornwall and North Yorkshire and was educated at New College, Oxford. He began writing during a prolonged illness that cut short a potential diplomatic career.

He is the author of two novels: The Short Day Dying (2005) and In the Orchard, the Swallows (2012), and of I Could Ride All Day in my Cool Blue Train (2006), a book of short stories. He is also published in New Writing
More about Peter Hobbs...
In the Orchard, the Swallows I Could Ride All Day In My Cool Blue Train Project Management My Life in The Dirt Clouds Their Formation, Optical Properties, and Effects: Their Formation, Optical Properties and Effects

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