This is the End of the Story – Jan Fortune
Part One of the extraordinary Casilda Trilogy
Belief is Cassie’s gift, so much so that she believes herself to be whoever those in her life tell her she is — Cassie, Kat, Kitty, even Casilda, as Miriam insists, an 11th century Muslim princess from Toledo who later became a Catholic saint. Bound together by Miriam’s extraordinary internal world, Cassie’s belief and a traumatic incident on a beach, Cassie’s loyalty only strains when an act of betrayal propels her towards Liam, also waiting to tell Cassie who she really is. But Cassie may be more resourceful than either Miriam or Liam imagine and when she eventually visits Toledo, tracking down places where Casilda might have walked, is this the end of the story?
Exploring how one person might support the fantasy life of another, in Quixotic tradition, This is the End of the Story raises questions about perception and identity, about friendship, love, loyalty and the stories we tell ourselves or allow others to tell about us.
This is an incredible book … powerful and delivered in the most taut and well crafted prose possible … this novel is one of the finest examples of experimental contemporary fiction I have read.
Jan Fortune was born in Middlesbrough and grew up in Redcar. She read theology at Cambridge and completed a doctorate in feminist theology at Exeter University. Jan has worked as a teacher, priest (ordained at the first ordination of women to the CofE) and charity director. She is the founding editor of Cinnamon Press and has edited around 400 books and led numerous creative writing courses in the Wales, the UK (including courses for Arvon and Ty Newydd), Spain, France, and online. She mentors writers from beginners to highly experienced, across genres and hosts a writing community, Kith, that includes weekly prompts, courses and inspiriation for the writing life via her site Becoming a Different Story.
Her previous publications include non-fiction titles in alternative education and parenting and the major book book for writers: Writing Down Deep: an alchemy of the writing life (available as both hardback and paperback editions) ; the novels Dear Ceridwen and Coming Home. Her previous poetry collections include Particles of Life (BlueChrome), Slate Voices (a collaborative collection with Mavis Gulliver), Stale Bread & Miracles, Edge (a companion to Adam Craig’s Year W), and Turn/Return, a pamphlet inspired by Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards. Her most recent work is the Casilda Trilogy of novels, which includes This is the End of the Story, A Remedy for All Things and For Hope Is Always Born, and the spin-off, stand-alone novel Saoirse’s Crossing.
Her cross-over novels re-envisaging the Arthurian legends in a near-future authoritarian UK are The Standing Ground (originally published in 2008 and being relaunched in a new edition in autumn 2021) and The Roots of the Ground, written during the first UK lockdown as a live project with a group of writers as daily audience for first draft readings, and also due out in autumn 2021.
She is currently working on a haiku and lyric sequence tracking the seasons of a forest.
Jan studied aromatherapy with the Well School, is a yoga nidrā teacher with the Independent Yoga Nidrā Network and is training as a medical herbalist. She lives in a surviving area of ancient forest in Finistère, Brittany.