Norwich, England: Background information when reading The Absolutist

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Absolutist

A Novel

by John Boyne

The Absolutist by John Boyne
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Paperback:
    Jul 2012, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Karen Rigby

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Norwich, England

Print Review

Norwich, England In John Boyne's The Absolutist, twenty-one-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich, England to deliver a package of letters to Will Bancroft's sister. Norwich, a city located along the River Wensum in eastern England, is the county seat of Norfolk and was once one of the largest, most populated towns in England, second only to London in prosperity.

Norfolk (literally meaning North people), shares the bulge on the east of England, known as East Anglia with it's southern neighbor - Suffolk (South people). The region is known as East Anglia after the Angles, a Germanic group who settled the area by the 5th century. The etymology of Norwich is essentially north-wich - wich being the Anglo-Saxon designation for a coastal trading settlement.

It is the most intact, walled medieval city in England and one of the few that did not arise from Roman settlements. Norwich began after the Romans had relinquished the area and was, at varying times, conquered by Vikings, Danes, and Normans. Richard I gave it city status in 1194.

Norwich Cathedral Norwich Castle Familiar landmarks include Norwich Cathedral, dating back over 900 years and one of the only cathedrals in England with an apsidal (based on semicircles) design; Norwich Castle, built by the Normans as a Royal Palace, now home to priceless collections of art and artifacts; and the Church of St. Julian, home of Lady Julian of Norwich (b. 1342) who was an anchoress (one whose vocation is solitary, yet not completely closed off from the world), a mystic, and also regarded as the first woman published in English with her book Revelations of Divine Love.

Norwich is also known for its bookshops and literary events. It was designated as England's first UNESCO City of Literature, in part for being the site of numerous firsts, from the first published poem in blank verse to the first provincial library and newspaper, among others. Authors from or associated with Norwich include Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty, as well as The University of East Anglia graduates Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro.

Image of Norwich map by Norfolk_UK_district_map_(blank).svg
Image of Norwich Castle by Bluemoose

Article by Karen Rigby

This article is from the August 22, 2012 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Rules of Magic
    The Rules of Magic
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's Rules of Magic is the long-awaited prequel to one of her most cherished novels,...
  • Book Jacket: Good Me Bad Me
    Good Me Bad Me
    by Ali Land
    Is a psychopath born or made? This is the terrifying question that author Ali Land explores in her ...
  • Book Jacket: Five-Carat Soul
    Five-Carat Soul
    by James McBride
    In the short story "Sonny's Blues," from the 1965 collection Going to Meet the Man, African-...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

"A powerful, provocative debut ... Intelligent, honest, and unsentimental." - Kirkus, starred review

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Seven Days of Us
    by Francesca Hornak

    A warm, wry debut novel about a family forced to spend a week together over the holidays.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Wisdom of Sundays

The Wisdom of Sundays
by Oprah Winfrey

Life-changing insights from super soul conversations.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A Good M I H T F

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.