The true story of poet John Clare’s incarceration in London’s Epping Forest
❚ “This book is based on the historical backdrop of a mental asylum run by Matthew Allen at High Beach in the late 1830s and 1840s, which was run on the reformist principles of occupational therapy. English poet John Clare was admitted there.
“Lord Alfred Tennyson, another notable poet of the era, moves to High Beach to get his brother Septimus treated and becomes entangled in teh life of the asylum. The book narrates Clare’s life, the asylum’s effects on both poets and bases its storyline on the popular speculation of whether Clare and Tennyson ever met.
The world is a room full of heavy furniture. Eventually you are allowed to leave.
❚ “The thrill of a story being based on real people and actual events seems to enhance its power for me and so it happened too with this book. Adam Foulds seems to be greatly adept at unfolding characters in a gentle and sympathetic manner. The story itself is interesting with many layers of detail within each character’s life. Well worth reading.” – Jo
❚ “Sympathetic characters and the merging of the actual and imaginary makes this a stimulating and thought-provoking story.” – Rachel