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The Book of Judith

Stuart Hood

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Imprint: Carcanet Fiction
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • Then she came to the pillar of the bed, which was at Holofernes' head and
    took down his fauchion from thence and approached to his bed and took hold
    of the hair of his head and she smote him twice upon his neck with all her
    might and she took away his head from him and tumbled his body down from
    the bed and after she went forth and gave Holofernes his head to her maid:
    and she put it in her bag of meat.

    from Judith, Chapter 13

    Stuart Hood's new novel is set in Madrid during the last days of the dictator, Franco. Indeed it opens beside his deathbed, and his presence
    touches every corner of the city, of his country: his doubts and his partial faith, his deeds and his refusals, and the people he drew to Spain -- from Britain -- in puzzlement, in opposition.

    The Book of Judith has the taut eloquence of Leonardo Sciascia's exploratory fictions, with the addition of certain elements of crucial importance to Hood: the needs of the body, the awkward burden of cultural inhibition, and the different freedom of women. It is a novel which makes sense of some of the political confusions of recent decades. The themes are the search for identity, the dangers of political adventurism, and the manipulation of women and the chief woman protagonist's -- Judith's -- rebellion.
        

    'simply the strongest and most achieved fictional work to come out of Scotland in years'.
    Brian Morton, Times Literary Supplement
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