Originally published in Britain by an American expatriate living in Germany, Tod Wodicka’s debut novel reflects a fractured, displaced, modern world, which is growing smaller and more interconnected while its people grow more disparate and emotionally cut-off from each other. In confident, insightful prose, Wodicka writes with a dry wit and underlying loneliness that is reminiscent of Charles Portis.

Like a George Saunders character, 63-year-old widower, Burt Hecker, has immersed himself in the pastime of medieval re-creation to find solace after the death of his wife and the estrangement of his children. Now, driving across Eastern Europe, he attempts to reconnect with them.

The book is largely lacking in the plot department, relying on Burt’s forlorn memories of his fractured family and his dry observations as a man in a tunic who drinks homemade mead. It’s at times poignant, at times funny, but somewhat wanting in narrative momentum. Nevertheless, a promising debut.

Grade: B-

All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner Of Things Shall Be Well: A Novel is currently available.