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Purefinder [Paperback]

Ben Gwalchmai
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

13 Dec 2013
London, 1858: a child is dead, a man is blamed, and dragged through hell - why is he persecuted and who is his persecutor? Purefinder is a Gothic-horror historical thriller with a metaphysical edge; a circadian, Dantean exploration of London, loss, and fraternity; mystery, blood, mud, and guts combined; Rabelaisian relief; human tragedy; and the important questions at the heart of any time.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Cosmic Egg Books (13 Dec 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782790985
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782790983
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 553,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Historically accurate but more than that compassionate, thrilling, and absorbing.--Fern Riddell "Journal of Victorian Culture ""

About the Author

Ben Gwalchmai is an actor, maker, writer, and worker who was writer in residence for Welsh National Opera in 2012. He lives in Powys, Wales, UK.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Gwalchmi has created a phantasmagorical journey through 1858 London. Purefoy is a "Purefinder", a collector of s*** (called Pure in slang) which is sold to the tanners.

"Though they called it mud, everyone in London knew what they were treading on. There were children who remained barefoot throughout the day so that they could get it between their toes. Their only sand was manure"

A child is killed and Purefoy is collared by the enigmatic pseudonymous Murphy as the culprit to be taken to justice. The two then embark on a foot journey across the city which serves to explore 1850's London through their eyes. It is not an easy book to read, Gwalchmi's prose often needs for you to work at it to glean the meaning and occasionally was a little too obscure for this reader. There is not much in the way of plot, being more a development of the two men's relationship and what has brought them both to this time and place. A smorgasboard of odd characters are encountered and interacted with, my favourites being the street gang known as the "Mighty Cabinet Group" because "if you cross them you'll end up in a cabinet". The book is full of cant and slang and language and most notably several dialogues in Welsh (translation is provided) and Gwalchmi is obviously enjoying himself digging in the rich soil of British language.

"London has always been a polyglot. London is where we run to hear new, fantastical imaginings of language; where we wrap ourselves in foreign matter in the knowledge that a cocoon of experience will enable us to lose and warm ourselves until we've wings enough to take our newly communicative selves elsewhere. The City speaks only one language, London speaks with infinite variations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 1 Jan 2014
By Verity
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having spent the whole of Christmas buried in this book, I can highly recommend Purefinder whether you are a gothic horror aficionado or (like me) a relative newcomer to the genre.

Gwalchmai has an exceptional understanding of the physicality of grief, fear, affection and hopelessness. In Purefinder, he takes the reader into the very body of his protagonist and holds him there. We are relentlessly marched through the filthy streets of Victorian London, tugged along by the very visceral nature of the world created before us. Here is a world where violence is never far from the surface and choice is frequently between one hell and the next. Within this gothic squalor, the glimmers of hope, fraternity and redemption are rendered all the stronger and all the more precarious.

In Purefinder, Gwalchmai takes us through the passage of a day, zooming in and out with ease, from the existential woes of his characters to candid reflections on the socio-economic context of the day. Perhaps most ambitiously, he uses this as a lens through which to view modern contexts and concerns. This can sometimes feel a little jarring but I suspect this is the author's intent, tugging gently on our collars to remind us that all good fiction holds court with fact.
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