Meet Burt Hecker: he's a mead-addicted medieval re-enactor from upstate New York who prefers oat gruel to French fries—because potatoes were unavailable in Europe before 1200 A.D.—and is mourning the death of his wife. After an incident involving the police and an illegally borrowed car, Burt is forced to join a local music therapy workshop to manage his anger. With this group, he travels to Germany for a music festival. His real goal, however, is to get to Prague, where his estranged son has been living. Armed with what he thinks is a historically accurate understanding of how to fix the past, Burt sets out on a journey that will change his future.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well|
|Release Date: 01-29-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||All Shall Be Well;...|
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All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well
Dawn, or its German equivalent, cannot be far off. But here, at the top of the hill, night still clogs the forest. Being sixty-three years old and sleepy, I find it nearly impossible to differentiate now between the stray grapevines, the trees, and the waist-high shrubs that I know surround me. They could all be wild animals.
'Is everyone awake?'
Three days ago I imprisoned six middle-aged women and one pre-pubescent girl in a tent on this hilltop. The time has come to set them free.
'Pray undo the lock,' an anchorite whispers. Then, sensing my hesitation, 'Did thou forget the key?'
There is no key because there is no lock. My hand waits on the zipper. I stand there in my dagged-edged taffeta tunic, my sandaled feet wet from dew. My bald little head. My nose. Somewhere behind me sleeps the great stone Benedictine Abbey St Hildegard, its vineyards cascading down the hill over Eibingen, over Rudesheim, and into the river Rhine.
Zipper down, the tent gives us Tivona Henry. Forty years old and not unlovely, Tivona is skinny in a way that suggests intense concentration; more simian, maybe, than outright undernourished. Her head feeds a nest of gray-streaked frizz. It's Tivona's medieval chant workshop that I've accompanied on this German vacation. She smiles.
I have only myself to blame. Weeks prior to the journey I'd sowed the idea of re-enacting Hildegard von Bingen's first days in the anchorage, more or less on a lark, knowing full well these women's anchorite longings and their propensity for outlandish re-enactment schemes. I expected nothing to come of it. Then, a day before departure, it was announced that several of the wo