The next millennium

A complex creation myth: Alexandria, by Paul Kingsnorth, reviewed

‘Challenging stuff,’ my wife remarked, having alighted on the page of Paul Kingsnorth’s new novel in which a character named el supplies several stream-of-consciousness paragraphs about a ritual dance featuring ‘big Birds runnin round Pole and fyr and mam and mother and all womyn and these big things all hummin’. Dystopian, or by the time you reach the final paragraph, maybe only utopian, Alexandria turns out to be set in the East Anglian fens a millennium or so in the future. Here lurk the last tattered remnants of a self-sequestered religious cult, their numbers steadily depleted by marauding ‘stalkers’, their destiny ever more uncertain. By the time of the ‘sikkel