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summary The Great Level

The Great Level

It is here he meets Eliza whose love overturns his ordered vision and whose act of resistance forces him to see the world differently Jan flees to the New World where the spirit of avarice is raging and his skills as an engineer are prized Then one spring morning a boy delivers a note that prompts him to remember the Fens and Jan Brunt is a Dutchman who moves from the Netherlands to England to work on the drainage of the Fens around Ely Years later he s living in New Amsterdam and thinking back to his time in England in the 164os50s when the country was still in tumultuous times following the civil war I found this a little wordy at times and the story often moved slowly but it was beautifully written and an interesting story My only uibble is that the text was rather small and it felt a bit of a strain to read it

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Confront all that was lost there The Great Level is a dramatic and elemental story about two people whose differences draw them together then drive them apart Jan and Eliza’s journeys like the century they inhabit are filled with conflict hard graft and adventure – and see them searching for their own piece of solid groun Wow she evokes so much life and vivid details of the fens Netherlands as well as the new land America in the early part of the 17th century Wow what a novel haunting and breathtaking and just rich in detail I wanted to savour every page This is one book I wanted to finish and yet did not want it to end I might be tempted to buy it

Stella Tillyard ë 6 review

‘I am an engineer and a measured man of the world I prefer to weigh everything in the balance to calculate and to plan Yet my own heart is going faster than I can now count’ In 1649 Jan Brunt a Dutchman arrives in England to work on draining and developing the Great Level an expanse of marsh in the heart of the fen country Beautifully written Historical facts mixed with a personal story which I enjoyed very much The main characters are not worked out in depth The author observes them throughout their lives and relates the observations to the reader It s a fairytale style of writing but well done I felt I was there


10 thoughts on “The Great Level

  1. says:

    Ever since I read the review in The Guardian I have wanted to read this book the story set in the mid of the 17th century of Jan Brunt a Dutch engineer who comes to East Anglia to drain the marshes is told in a most beautiful prose Jan is the narrator and describes his undertaking with love as for him shaping the land is something than just making it available for agricultural purposes although fields which ar

  2. says:

    That is what I believed that time nibbles away at the future and in that moment puts the present behind its back The past retreats as each present moment joins it on and on Yet that is far too simple Inside us time sways backwards and forwards from now to then here to there and nothing of it is lost or goes away but it all hangs everywhere translucent in the air Some men turn away and walk on saying that the past contains only the

  3. says:

    Beautifully written Historical facts mixed with a personal story which I enjoyed very much The main characters are not worked out in depth The author observes them throughout their lives and relates the observations to the reader It's a fairytale style of writing but well done I felt I was there

  4. says:

    Now this should have been a book I enjoyedIt has chapters set in my place of birth Kings Lynn and many others set at the very foundation of the City I visit monthly New York – as it transitions from New Amsterdam Golden HillThe Kings Lynn and Ely part is around the draining of the Fens – a landscape which has inspired great writing such as Fen by Daisy Johnson Waterland by Graham Swift and Paul Kingsnorth's The Wake The New Y

  5. says:

    Stella Tillyard’s The Great Level is an absolute stunner It’s everything that I want in an historical novel a completely immersive reading experience feeling submerged in a previously unknown historical epoch and previously unknown historical locales After Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones whoever would have thought that another novel about a civil engineer could be so fully absorbing especially one located in seventee

  6. says:

    Jan Brunt is a Dutchman who moves from the Netherlands to England to work on the drainage of the Fens around Ely Years later he's living in New Amsterdam and thinking back to his time in England in the 164os50s when the country was still in tu

  7. says:

    Jan Brunt arrives in Norfolk to drain The Fens and increase the amount of arable land funded by Norfolk's famous son Oliver Cromwell In Norfolk he meets and starts a relationship with Eliza who later tells her story and becomes a three dimens

  8. says:

    There are two problems with this book; one and its pace and two the ending Mostly told from the point of view of the engineer Jan Br

  9. says:

    Wow she evokes so much life and vivid details of the fens Netherlands as well as the new land America in the early

  10. says:

    It's surprising that the draining of the English Fens in the mid seventeenth century hasn't inspired novelists It's an event

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