Wednesday 1 March 2023

Review by Tim Grayson of "For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy on My Little Pain" by Victoria Mackenzie

For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy on My Little Pain is a magnificent book. It brings fresh eyes and vitality to the lives of two real, medieval women of faith: Margery Kempe, and the anchoress Julian of Norwich. It is a work of fiction, but takes its inspirations from The Book of Margery Kempe (the first autobiography written in English by a man or woman) and Julian's Revelations of Divine Love (the earliest surviving book in English written by a woman).

Interestingly, these women did meet in real life, and the latter part of the book deftly imagines their conversation. At times, I found myself moved beyond words, as if the book was speaking to my soul. It may be classed as fiction, but the author has worked wonders here; it's almost as if she's assisted Margery and Julian in creating a new holy book. Outstanding.

About the reviewer
Tim Grayson is the founding editor of the Leicester Literary Review, poet-in-residence at Belvoir Castle and the head of media at Technology Record. He has written poetry for members of the British peerage, scripts for BBC Radio, and has created and produced several board games, including Tatakai - a game of covert warfare. In his spare time, Tim enjoys spending time with his family, training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and exploring sites of historical significance.

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