The Oblate’s Confession
A written confession of a monk of his sin; a child’s view of living his life in a monastery, his view of all those around him, and his surroundings as far as he could see. His religious instruction, his questioning, his learnt understanding of human behaviour clearly shows Peak is a master of introspection, but to me the novel felt disjointed in time and flow.
What I found GREAT about the book?
I loved the idea of an adult recounting his childhood with the understand that as he grew h ...more
First, I am a little sad to see that many readers do not give more stars to this story and complain about this and that, often indiscriminately.
A reader complained that he did not know how to pronounce the names of the main characters while another wanted this novel to be written in 7th century English! How to reconcile these two requirements? Impossible!
Personally, I don't pronounce the words I read, so what's the matter ...more
"I write under obedience: Father Abbot has ordered me to give an account of the events that led up to my sin."
Upon his arrival one snowy winter day, the shy child together with a priest build a snowman. Season follows season, each with its ora et labora. Winwæd becomes the servant of a hermit, living on a nearby mountain. They become friends; the hermit, Father Gwynedd, teaches him a ...more
This book is the written confession of a 7th century Northumbrian monk or his sins. Winwaed is a servant of a hermit when he first arrives. The hermit, FAther Gwyneed show the boy many woodland animals, as well as how to track them. His father shows us soon and asks the boy to pray against the bishop who has been doing terrible things. The book shows the tensions between the Celts and the Roman Christians. The boy become unsure what to do, this father, who he has not seen since he dropped Winwa ...more
Young Winwaed has been donated to the Monastery by his father in a burst of enthusias ...more
Onto the nitty gritty of the actual review. The tale itself is a first person account from an 'apprentice' monk in the 7th cen ...more
I'm not sure what I expected from William Peak's The Oblate's Confession, but the book proved a pleasant surprise. I found the introspective tone of the narrative intriguing, but I felt Peak's decision to write from a child's perspective a stroke of genius. The questions Winwæd asks about faith and the things that capture his interest within the monastery are fascinating, but watching him piece these concepts together as his ...more
England in the 7th Century was a turbulent period as the Anglo Saxon kingdoms peaked and waned. Christianity was not the dominant religion, and often was interspersed with periods of Pagan ascendancy.
Into this mix a child - an Oblate - is given to the Church (usually a Benedictine monastery) by their parents but were not professed monk ...more
Set in 7th century England, The Oblate’s Confession tells the story of Winwaed, a boy who – in a practice common at the time – is donated by his father to a local monastery. In a countryside wracked by plague and war, the child comes to serve as a regular messenger between the monastery and a hermit living on a nearby mountain. Missing his father, he finds a surrogate in the hermit, an old man who teaches him woodcraft, the practice of contemplative prayer, and, ultimately, the true mea ...more
The story in The Oblate's Confession is delivered in first person by Winwæd, an elderly monk, who says, “I write under obedience: Father Abbot has ordered me to give an account of the events that led up to my sin.” And thus his story begins with Winwæd's arrival at a small monastery in Northumbria. He's been delivered to the monastery as a gift from his parents. Such a gift child was referred to as an oblate, and shared the life of the monks.
William Peak has written an exquisitely...more
On seeing this book mentioned amongst others in an article that demonstrated how the medieval period is becoming an increasingly popular setting in said genre, I decided it was time to read.
I expected- well I’m not sure- maybe not a sweeping epic- I did read the synopsis after all. ...more
The book is beautifully written, full of evocative language and descriptions. The book itself is beautifully rendered and includes maps of the locations along with a list of characters which is helpful due to the unusual names of the time. Winwæd, the oblate of the t ...more
Set during 7th Century England when Christianity is finding a foothold in England. When different groups of monks hold differing attitudes. A world where Christianity and ancient beliefs clash. A small boy, Winwaed, is given to a Monastery straddling two Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
A world where the power of spirits and prayer is primal, unfettered by the rationalism of today.
We begin with the oblate as an old man retelling his sto ...more
(This review may contain spoilers).
Although there were parts of this book I felt were really slow-moving, I found myself drawn into it fairly well, despite the fact that there were some instances of modern language used.
It was interesting to see the world in this book. Despite the modern language I mentioned above, I felt like I'd been drawn back in time. There were some parts of this book that really affected me, such as ...more
The Oblate's Confession is an extensively researched historical fiction set in seventh century Northumbria, an early medieval kingdom in northern England and south-east Scotland. It revolves around the life of a small child, Winwaed, in the service of Redestone Monastery.
The book has elegant prose and wonderful descriptions. However, there was too much detail and not enough storytelling that made the reading a tormenting exp ...more
It would appear there really is a first time for everything, because with this book I have, for the first time, not finished a book I won through first reads. Even if I'm not enjoying the book I've always felt obligated to finish in order to give a fair and honest review, but this time . . . I just couldn't do it.
It's not that the book is bad - in fact, the writing itself is very good technically speaking. It's just . . . dull. I can enjoy books that ...more
I was expecting a mystery, probably because of the book's title. This wrong-footed me through a good part of the book, especially when the narrator states that he is writing this confession looking back on what happened. But this is a different kind of confession.
The book is great at putting the reader back in time and in the medieval mindset. The first-person narrator is an oblate, or lay brother, given by his father ...more
I was fascinated by the details of life in a monastery, the hardships and challenges that were presumably taken for granted at the time. The almost poetic narrative unfolds to ...more
William Peak spent ten years researching and writing "The Oblate’s Confession," his debut novel. Peak received his baccalaureate degree from Washington & Lee University and his master’s from the creative writing program ...more