I am hungry for your presence. I hanker for the great blaze of your glance which when you turn it on me, will burn out the husk of my body and draw my soul to you…’
Julia O’Faolain’s second novel, first published in 1973, offers a rich, vivid portrait of the political and religious turmoil of sixth-century Gaul, wherein we find Radegunda, wife of King Clotair having been seized by him as a prize of war. Radegunda builds a convent, a refuge for the Brides of Christ, and there becomes renowned for her austerity and mysticism. Her religion, however, is fanatical, and her quest for sainthood will serve to undermine the seeming calm of the retreat she has made.
Sarah Dunant, professing the influence of O’Faolain on her own fiction, described Women in the Wall in the Guardian as ‘vibrant and strange … [a] journey into a darker, wilder moment of history.’
We have one copy to give away to the winner of our quiz. To win, first take a look at the following question:
What is the title of Julia O’Faolain’s novel that was shortlisted for The Booker Prize in 1980?