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Red Thread


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An ingeniously constructed, labyrinthine journey through myth, art, literature, history, archaeology and memoir, by the Baillie Gifford-shortlisted author

About the Author

Charlotte Higgins's previous books include the acclaimed Under Another Sky- Journeys in Roman Britain, which was shortlisted for awards including the Samuel Johnson (now Baillie Gifford) Prize for non-fiction. She is chief culture writer of the Guardian, a past winner of the Classical Association prize, and a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. She lives in London.


Charlotte Higgins's Red Thread is a masterwork, an open-eyed analysis of the everyday mazery we face without even realising it, and an understanding of psychic and narrative architecture that's a pretty crucial piece of equipment for wherever and whenever we find ourselves lost. I read it on the balcony of a hotel in Rome... and it was as if the city itself opened playfully and thoughtfully around the reading experience in its amalgam of pasts and presents, histories and mysteries.
Any bookshelf would be graced by the presence of [Red Thread]... [it] ask[s] readers to surrender to the unpredictable pleasures of getting lost... playful and gorgeously written. -- Robert Douglas-Fairhurst * Guardian *
A serious, substantial, scholarly and yet also highly personal book about mazes... Red Thread is a book to admire as much as to enjoy. -- Ian Sansom * Spectator *
[Charlotte Higgins] is no ordinary author. Her thrillingly original book - it really is like no other - is itself a sort of maze of facts and thoughts, ancient tales and modern phenomena... on every page there is a sparkling idea or a fascinating piece of information. It is also beautifully written... a beautifully produced volume, full of colour illustrations of sculptures and paintings and tantalising maps of mazes. -- Craig Brown * Mail on Sunday *
In this beautifully produced and richly illustrated book... Charlotte Higgins takes us on a fascinating meander through the art and literature of the last 2,500 years... After reading this book you will see labyrinths everywhere. -- Michael O'Loughlin * Irish Times *
The joy of travelling with Higgins... [is that Red Thread] delights in the blinking movement from one subject to the next. In a few pages, we travel from Middlemarch to Ovid, from Arachne to Velazquez and his painting The Spinners and then back to George Eliot. It sounds dizzying; in truth it is illuminating. -- Christian Donlan * New Statesman *
This is a book to get gloriously lost in... It's a lovely, wayward meander, combining memoir with surprising historical facts, unexpected connections and intriguing, imaginative speculations. * Psychologies *Book of the Month* *
Higgins' range is admirably, enviably broad... there is no shortage of visual pleasure in Red Thread. -- Tim Smith-Laing * Daily Telegraph *
Charlotte Higgins' Red Thread is subtitled "On Mazes And Labyrinths" but is much more than that. It takes a nimble thinker to link the ancient stories of the Minotaur to archeological fabrication in the Edwardian era and to Arnold Bennett and the Potteries... [one] of the most interesting books this year. -- Stuart Kelly * Scotsman, *Books of the Year* *
Fascinating... enriching... very satisfying. -- Jonathan McAloon * Financial Times *

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