For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain (Hardback)
  • For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain (Hardback)
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For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain (Hardback)

(author)
£14.99
Hardback 176 Pages
Published: 19/01/2023
  • 10+ in stock

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Waterstones Says

Taking the real-life medieval figures of Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich as a springboard for a compelling meditation on faith, femininity and the abuses of the church, For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain is a uniquely powerful reading experience.

Longlisted for The Walter Scott Historical Fiction Prize 2024

An astounding debut, both epic and intimate, about grief, trauma, revelation, and the hidden lives of women.

In the year of 1413, two women meet for the first time in the city of Norwich. Margery has left her fourteen children and husband behind to make her journey. Her visions of Christ - which have long alienated her from her family and neighbours, and incurred her husband's abuse - have placed her in danger with the men of the Church, who have begun to hound her as a heretic.

Julian, an anchoress, has not left Norwich, nor the cell to which she has been confined, for twenty- three years. She has told no one of her own visions - and knows that time is running out for her to do so. The two women have stories to tell one another. Stories about girlhood, motherhood, sickness, loss, doubt and belief; revelations more the powerful than the world is ready to hear. Their meeting will change everything. Sensual, vivid and humane, For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain cracks history open to reveal the lives of two extraordinary women.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781526647887
Number of pages: 176
Dimensions: 216 x 135 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Electrifying … This slim novel is a pocket epic; you will read it in no time but be thinking about it for ages after ... You feel in every sentence the weight of history pressing down on and confining these women - FRANK COTTRELL-BOYCE, GUARDIAN

This slim but powerful novel follows both medieval figures through their lives to the point of the fateful meeting - SUNDAY TIMES, Twelve best historical novels of 2023

A tiny marvel, tenderly illuminating the inner lives of Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich - GUARDIAN, Best books of the year

It is an extraordinary feat of historical ventriloquism; the women’s inner lives, their religiosity, their sense of place in the world is miraculously conjured ... Brilliantly done - THE TIMES, Book of the Month

Transfixing ... A vibrant portrait of female courage - OBSERVER

I adored Victoria Mackenzie’s sparse and lyrical debut ... It’s intimate, moving and a wonderful snapshot of two extraordinary women’s lives - Jan Carson, IRISH TIMES, Best books of 2023

A novel like this requires exquisite balance, not to tip the hand towards one or other of the paired yet opposing characters. This achieves that admirably. It would also be a clever choice for the National Theatre of Scotland to adapt - SCOTSMAN, Books of the Year 2023

Lightly done but intensely felt, it’s mind-expanding stuff - Guardian, Summer reading – 50 brilliant books to discover

I’ve already finished Victoria Mackenzie’s limpid novella … in which she imagines the meeting between Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich, two great, but wildly different, English mystics - IRINA DUMITRESCU, TLS, Summer books 2023

A beautiful book. I loved it. Margery and Julian are both so alive. The invisible balancing and weighing MacKenzie has done across the whole to bring them dialogue with each other and to bring the reader into emotional and spiritual connectedness with them is just so brilliant. And it’s funny. It warmed my heart - MAX PORTER, author of Lanny

Superlative ... Striking, elegant.. a novel like this requires exquisite balance ... this achieves this admirably - SCOTSMAN

A startling read .... Brings the historical fiction magic of allowing us to inhabit a time, place and perspective so very different from our own - JO BROWNING WROE, author of A Terrible Kindness

Stunningly original ... Her skill is in creating a story that goes much deeper than its slender spine and spare prose might suggest to not only shine a light on the lives and experiences of two ‘ordinary’ women, but to draw clear contemporary echoes and parallels – around mental health, grief, motherhood and more – that resonate long after reading - MARIE CLAIRE, The best books of 2023

This is the best first novel I've read in years. It is short, yet so full and so vivid; it is amazing. - RODDY DOYLE, author of LOVE

Moving and unexpected, Mackenzie writes with great clarity and tenderness ... I tore through this - JULIA ARMFIELD, author of OUR WIVES UNDER THE SEA

For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy on My Little Pain is a novel of rare brightness and clarity, concise and yet capacious: it illuminates the meeting of two extraordinary women like a shaft of sunlight - IMOGEN HERMES GOWAR, author of Women's Prize-shortlisted THE MERMAID AND MRS HANCOCK

Magnificent, bold and compelling ... The writing is sometimes raw, at other times very beautiful - and from a place of deep knowledge and love of the historical period - ROSIE ANDREWS, author of THE LEVIATHAN

A novel that fearlessly investigates the medieval mind ... Honest, insightful, erudite and wise - ANNIE GARTHWAITE, author of CECILY

Compelling and beautiful. MacKenzie performs a small miracle in imagining the different lives and personalities of these two medieval women. She writes with great understanding - and the sensibility of a poet - about the power that their religious mysticism gives them - ALISON LIGHT, author of A RADICAL ROMANCE

Intimately observed, lyrically written and meticulously researched. I loved this insight into the lives of medieval women - KIRSTY LOGAN, author of THINGS WE SAY IN THE DARK

The genius and lasting pleasure of this spare, profound novel lies in the vivid and detailed realisation of medieval urban Norfolk life; in the lucent beauty of MacKenzie’s writing and in her superb characterisation of the two women - TABLET

More than just a wonderful piece of historical fiction, it’s a nuanced exploration of religious conviction, mental illness, misogyny and the legacy of grief - NEW EUROPEAN

An intriguing concept and brilliant debut from Victoria MacKenzie, as she brings strong female characters to the fore - SNACK MAGAZINE

This book is a highly readable, creative imagining of their lives and meeting - PREMIER CHRISTIANITY MAGAZINE

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“For thy great pain and my little pain.”

I was aware in only the most general way of both Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich. This book has been a delight to read. I must admit that at first I found the layout and the rapid switching back and forth between... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 13

“Influential medieval mystics, given a fresh voice.”

A delightful read, perfect for so many readers. The stories of two influential medieval mystics are entwined, to create a sweet, touching story. The characters of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, are given... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 8

“Beautiful and lyrical debut novel”

I loved this! A thought provoking, sensitive exploration of the lives of two remarkable medieval women. There was a respect and sensitivity to the historical facts but a clever, lyrical exploration of the two... More

Hardback edition
3 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 7

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