Hobbs, Peter 1973-
Hobbs, Peter 1973-
Born 1973. Education: Attended New College, Oxford.
Whitbread First Novel Award nomination, 2005, and Betty Trask award, both for The Short Day Dying.
The Short Day Dying (fiction), Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2005.
I Could Ride All Day in My Cool Blue Train (short stories), Faber & Faber (London, England), 2006.
Peter Hobbs's first novel, The Short Day Dying, explores the inner spiritual life of a nineteenth-century apprentice blacksmith in England's West Country on the verge of a new calling as a Methodist lay preacher. At the age of twenty-seven, Charles Wenworth is a bit old to still be an apprentice, but he mitigates any unrest he feels in his job through his faith. Part of his inspiration comes from his relationship with the blind Harriet French, an invalid suffering from a fatal illness. "Set in 1870, and spread over the course of a year," reviewer Ian Marchant wrote in the Guardian, "the novel … detail[s] the daily round of changing tracts in wayside pulpits, visits to Harriet on her death bed, and life in a Cornish blacksmith's shop."
Hobbs celebrates Wenworth's difficulties in wrestling with his spirituality: the impact of the Industrial Revolution on the rural Cornish population, the natural beauty of the Cornish countryside, and his own restlessness with both his duties as a blacksmith and his calling. "Drawing on the diaries of his great-great-grandfather," explained a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "the author faultlessly recaptures the language of a painfully self-educated man grappling with loneliness, unhappiness and … terrifying doubt." "Hobbs's first novel," declared Ellen Loughran in Booklist, "holds promise of great things to come—it's a real find."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 2006, Ellen Loughran, review of The Short Day Dying, p. 29.
Guardian (London, England), March 19, 2005, Ian Marchant, "Faith in the Forge: Ian Marchant Hears the Voice of Cornish Methodism in Peter Hobbs' The Short Day Dying."
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2006, review of The Short Day Dying, p. 9.
Publishers Weekly, December 19, 2005, review of The Short Day Dying, p. 37.