Barry Unsworth's seventeen novels offer a feast of reading; he was a vigorous, highly-skilled storyteller who could conjure up ancient Greece, medieval Sicily, fourteenth-century England, Renaissance Venice, colonial Florida, Ottoman Constantinople, Mesopotamia in 1914, Thatcher's Liverpool, 1990s Umbria, and a host of other times and places. His fiction supplements its broadly realistic approach with elements from a variety of popular genres and literary modes: the historical novel, Gothic fiction, the spy thriller, the murder mystery, satire, black comedy, symbolism and metafiction. His key themes are the upsurge of unrecognized or unsatisfied desires; the “ancient urge”, as his best-known book, Sacred Hunger (1992), puts …
Tredell, Nicolas. "Barry Unsworth". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 December 2006; last revised 01 November 2012.
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