Published Feb 2009
Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.
To escape from her own sadness, a woman finds refuge in a past time. In a village by the sea she watches the lives of the inhabitants unfold around her. But the year is now 1410 and this is a world of devils and miracles, a world in which there are no clear boundaries between reality and the power of the imagination. A man’s discovery of a mermaid washed up on the sand starts a chain of events that leads three of the villagers to accompany the enigmatic figure of the leper on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The woman joins them and sets out without the certainty of ever coming home again.
An enchanting book that provides a vivid sense of life at a time when our forebears co-existed closely with hunger, dreams, lice, angels, contagion, foul odours, mermaids and miracles.