Barley, Bread and Cheese by Truda Thurai
Every now and again, you read a book that totally captures the spirit of its subject matter.
With Barley, Bread and Cheese, Truda Thurai manages to effortlessly mix fact with fiction in a series of short stories all based in or taking inspiration from Rochester and its Cathedral.
Intrigued by Dickens’ references to Ceylon in the Mystery of Edwin Drood, Truda visited Rochester Cathedral. This visit inspired her to write The Cinnamon Peeler’s Daughter where she joins the haloed ranks of the likes of Edwin Harris by offering her own solution to the “enduring conundrum posed by Edwin Drood”.
The Cinnamon Peeler’s Daughter became the keystone to the rest of the book and using some of the more obscure architectural and symbolic elements of the Cathedral, Truda has created a beautifully rounded collection of short stories that all delight and inform.
My particular favourites are the title story Barley, Bread and Cheese where Truda uses the most baffling of the Iudicia Dei (Judgements of God) from the Textus Roffensis to chart the breakdown of a relationship and The Baker’s Boy, a wonderful speculation on the life of William of Perth and his rise to Sainthood.
Truda’s book is available from Baggins in Rochester High Street and from the Cathedral gift shop as well as the usual retail and on-line outlets.
Read Truda’s blog here http://tthurai.wordpress.com
Listen to Truda interviewed on BBC Radio Kent about the book here http://youtu.be/2a-zBPAidLI