Religion, politics and history…

Though I haven’t read it yet, Ronan Bennett’s Booker shortlisted novel, Havoc in its third year has brought him some serious critical acclaim. Although the fiction is firmly centred in Puritan Northern England, at times he may have been drawing on his background in Northern Ireland. Reviewer Kathryn Hughes:

In taverns, in church and in the streets, men watch other men for signs that they are following the wrong party line. A certain glance, a particular ribbon, a prayer mumbled at the wrong time can all give you away as a “Jesuit”, someone who lives outside the godly city, along with all those Irish whores, vagrant labourers, tipplers and fraudsters who threaten civic stability.

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