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To Be A Pilgrim

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Joyce Cary wrote two trilogies, or triptychs as he later preferred to call them. The first comprises: Herself Surprised, To Be a Pilgrim and The Horse’s Mouth.

In the months before his death, Tom Wilcher, who is looked after by his niece and nephew (both concerned for their inheritance), lives his life over again in the house in which his childhood was spent. The religious family life of his youth is contrasted with the rootlessness of his heirs. The character of the old man is seen through his attitude to his family and the way in which he tries to make them feel the value of a family tradition.

‘A remarkable novel … An original attempt to embody a complete vision of life, and it contains scenes as vivid and beautiful as anything else in modern fiction.’ The Listener

‘Its excellence lies in the great skill with which a character is drawn in all its variety, in the minor portraits of members of his family, with their subsidiary stories, and in the unhesitating and illuminating detail of half a century of English life.’ Observer