The Tomb Guardians

Paul Griffiths


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Henningham Family Press
30 June 2021
ISBN: 9781916218611
160 pages

From the publisher

You’re not likely to encounter another book like this in a hurry. Brilliantly (and wittily) weaving together art history, psychology and theology, it invites us to think about imagination and truth, presence and absence, and the way in which human beings manage to avoid noticing what is significant – but not quite successfully enough to make them comfortable.
Rowan Williams

As two people quietly discuss Bernhard Strigel’s paintings of the guardians at the tomb, their voices blend and clash with the panicked voices of the guards themselves. A stunning short novel.
Philip Terry

Given Griffiths’s career as a librettist and musicologist, a distinctly Da Ponte-ish symmetry between “high” and “low” voices and a certain exactitude of pacing and weight, it is tempting to postulate music as a suggestive absence in the book, a kind of dark matter that might fill and charge the spaces between and alongside the words.
Keith Miller, The TLS

Paul Griffiths movingly explores the primary need for attentiveness in our lives, how impossible that is for us to maintain and how art can help us grasp the contradiction… rich grounds for reflection.
Gabriel Josipovici, The TLS

The Tomb Guardians awake to find the tomb empty and one of their number missing. Their conversation overlaps with another – an anguished lecturer and friend exploring the Renaissance Master portraits they occupy. One looks back at the dawn of the Reformation, the other thrashes out an excuse.