Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Lightning Books (18th May 2017)
“Genuinely funny and deeply poignant” – Daily Express
Tim Cleverley inherits a failing pub in Wales. The only thing of interest is its location, which is down the road from the remote Jesuit seminary where Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote his masterpiece, The Wreck of the Deutschland, about the death of a group of nuns fleeing Germany on board a doomed ship. To Tim, the opaque religious poetry is incomprehensible – almost as if it’s written in code.
This gives him an idea. Desperate for passing trade, he contacts an American author – famous as a purveyor of Holy Grail hokum – suggesting he write a book about the poet, the area and a recently discovered, and entirely fabricated, ‘mystery’. Fortunately for Tim, the famous author is going through a period of writer's block and latches on to his idea at once. But will Tim's new relationship with a genuine Hopkins fan scupper the plan?
The Hopkins Conundrum blends the real stories of Hopkins and the shipwrecked nuns while casting a wry eye on The Da Vinci Code industry in a highly original mix of fiction, literary biography and satirical commentary.
Audio: Tim’s big idea
There are three narrative strands in The Hopkins Conundrum, two historical and one contemporary. In this extract from the contemporary strand, our hapless hero Tim ‘NotSo’ Cleverley conceives the crackpot idea which drives the novel and which he hopes will make him rich.
“I love this novel. It pulls off the three-card trick of being entertaining, genuinely touching, and a fascinating insight into Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poetry.”
Harriett Gilbert, presenter of BBC Radio 4's A Good Read
“A deft fusion of genuinely funny writing and deeply poignant drama bound artfully around the vividly imagined character of Gerard Manley Hopkins, who is long overdue a revival and deservedly takes centre-stage.”
Jennifer Selway, Daily Express
“The Hopkins Conundrum is wonderfully enjoyable: a masterful mash-up of contemporary literary satire and poetic erudition which had me laughing out loud and then reaching for the collected works of a now neglected Victorian poet. Prepare to be delighted.”
New York Times bestselling novelist Liz Trenow
“A splendid mix of literary detection, historical description and contemporary romance. Edge’s witty debunking of the Vatican conspiracy genre will appeal equally to fans and detractors of Dan Brown.”
“A compelling and captivating debut.”
“The book gave me much to identify with. It becomes increasingly propulsive. Among the many things it does is to set off thoughtful writing from the kind that plays to the credulous for profit. My compliments to the author.”
Tom Merrill, poet
Read more about the real characters behind The Hopkins Conundrum and the process of researching the novel at www.simon-edge.com.