The Stonemasons

Will Wiles at Literary Review:

There are few reading pleasures that compare with a passionate expert describing their work, and Ziminski stands proudly in this field. He is a mason working in the West Country, repairing and restoring prehistoric tombs, stone circles, Roman fragments and Christian churches, all the time trying to adopt the techniques used by the builders of these places. This has allowed him to construct an fascinating and idiosyncratic picture of English history. He travels by bicycle and boat and his mind wanders as he works, conjuring up with remarkable deftness disappeared English worlds and the ordinary people who lived in them. Envisaging the lives of forgotten builders – why they made the choices they did, how they lived, where they went – naturally entails a good deal of supposition, imagination and ‘must have beens’. But Ziminski’s speculations carry unusual authority, as he takes himself to the same places as them, performing the same tasks with the same tools and materials and facing the same problems.

more here.