Friday, 29 August 2014

Owen Glendower by John Cowper Powys


I'm just starting Owen Glendower by John Cowper Powys. I may be gone for some time.

And then there fell on him “like a clap of thunder and a fall of mist” a curious cessation of all movement of time. Time stopped; and something else, another dimension altogether, took its place; and in that deep time-vacuum with an absolute naturalness – helped doubtless by the calm assumption of his horse that he was doing what he always did – he drew his crusader's sword out of its sheath and lifting it high into the air rode forward.

Powys is a jealous god. I can't read The Wife of Martin Guere by Janet Lewis along with 'Owen' though it is a precise, worthy recreation. The zany irrealism of the one turns the other into an impeccable theme park tableau which it is not of course. Time travel is pitted against reconstruction. The temporal floor gives way abetted by a chapter that is measured in breaths as our hero faces the longbowmen plucking their taut strings like tuning murderers.

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