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Paperback Morality Play Book

ISBN: 0393315606

ISBN13: 9780393315608

Morality Play

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

The time is the fourteenth century. The place is a small town in rural England, and the setting a snow-laden winter. A small troupe of actors accompanied by Nicholas Barber, a young renegade priest, prepare to play the drama of their lives. Breaking the longstanding tradition of only performing religious plays, the groups leader, Martin, wants them to enact the murder that is foremost in the townspeoples minds. A young boy has been found dead, and...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

My favorite Unsworth

I have read all but one of Barry Unsworth's books (Sacred Hunger was too painful for me), but this is my favorite. In his amazing style he captures a time and place, in depth, using the private lives of people you are convinced lived. Enjoy, Bruce Gibbs

A Fine Tale.

The major selling point of this novel is that it has a very interesting and engrossing storyline. Neither does the author digress into inconsequential sideplots nor does he use the book as an excuse to show off his vocabulary i.e. no boring lifeless descriptions of the scenery or alleged insights into how the human mind works. This focus implies that it's possible to read the book in just one sitting without noticibly perturbing your daily routine. The plot is set in England in the middle ages and is about a drama troupe that goes from town to town performing plays. Apparently, in those times the only kind of plays they performed were the ones that were based on stories from the bible. Competition in the shape of some other more complelling form of entertainment forces our troupe, when they enter a town, to adapt. While there, in that town, there is much controversy about the murder of a young boy in very mysterious circumstances. The debonair leader of the troupe, despite opposition from other troupe members who are troubled by this break from tradition, decides to 'play the murder'! To say more would be to give away too much but suffice it to say that the troupe's performance has unexpected ramifications.

The plot isn't that important here

How can I say "buy this book -- don't let any negative reviews deter you" -- without seeming to contradict or criticize some of the negative comments? (Good comments, but some were possibly the result of preconceived notions.)I didn't expect a great mystery -- the concept was intriguing in itself, and it wouldn't have mattered to me if the murder had remained unsolved. I did expect a sure hand with the time, place, voice, characters -- the important stuff, and I sure got that.I don't feel that any characters were left hanging or that Unsworth "lost interest" -- the book could have been longer, but not because loose ends needed to be tied up. I just wanted to spend more time with Nicholas and the other players. Those people came alive, and it would have been quite an adventure (or not, and that's okay too) to travel with them a while longer.Read this book! You won't need your Latin-English dictionary either.

A brilliant medieval murder mystery

Barry Unsworth's "Morality Play" is a brilliantly told murder mystery set in 14th century medieval England. It tells of how a fallen monk in his escape from the monastery joins up with a travelling theatre troupe and in the process helps solve a town murder by performing a morality play to expose the murderer. There are strong shades of Umberto Eco's "The Name Of The Rose" in this wonderfully captivating novel, which though far less ambitious in its aims, is arguably as effective in its delivery. Unsworth's prose is simple, unpretentious and uncluttered, yet so beautifully written with a sureness of touch that renders the overall effect almost poetic. A highly engaging novel that I would recommend unreservedly to anyone who enjoys a murder mystery in an unusual setting.

Beautiful, very well worth reading

If you ever enjoyed The Name of the Rose, be sure to also read Morality Play - although it is short, it is a really impressive piece of work, giving you a very good insight of the life in the towns in the 15 century. And of course - a very good story around it.
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