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The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds

The Quickening Maze is a fictional account of the years the great nature poet John Clare spent in High Beach Asylum. Clare had success with his poetry, but alcoholism and depression eventually drove him to insanity. The owner of the asylum, Dr. Matthew Allen, claimed to run it with a liberal and caring attitude. Life in the asylum, though, was brutal and debilitating. One of the other patients was the brother of the young poet Alfred Tennyson. Tennyson's visits there would have a great effect on him, both emotionally and financially. He invested his family's fortunes in one of Dr. Allen's business schemes, only to have it go bust. It's a time where all involved struggle to find their place in life. Adam Foulds' novel has received a Booker nomination and positive reviews. The Independent says, "Yet when loosened from the chains of history, this poetic novel soars in a voice almost as euphonic and confident as Tennyson's, in images of nature almost as plaintive and visceral as Clare's. All is raised in pitch and definition by the prurient excitement of Foulds's very 21st-century lust for life. So the novel has a heady mix of delicacy and grotesquery, intimacy and misanthropy."
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The Telegraph review
by Lionel Shriver

The Independent review
by Simon Kovesi

The Guardian review
by Andrew Motion

London Times review
by Nick Rennison

Washington Post review
by Ron Charles

Boston Globe review
by Alec Solomita

The Telegraph review
by Neel Mukherjee

New Statesman review
by Fatema Ahmed

London Times review
by Tom Gatti

Adam Foulds
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