Philip Hart would not regard himself as a hero, although neither would he think the now commonly popular role of anti-hero to be fitting. But in the course of the book he inhabits two rather different physical worlds and the transition from the insulated cosiness of the first to the disorientating otherness of the second truly has something of the heroic about it. So the title of this page (and the next) is not entirely ironic. The first world is Norwich, as shown in the panorama above, with what is for Hart the fixed point in his universe – the Anglican cathedral, with its secluded close.
The Revelations of Divine Love written by Mother Julian of Norwich, or Dame Julian, as she was also called, whose statue at one of the entrances to the cathedral is shown here, has a great significance for the character in the novel who propels Hart into making that transition.
The grave of Nurse Edith Cavell, in the shadow of the cathedral, is equally part of the world Hart will leave behind, as are Pull’s Ferry, which lies at one end of the close, and the River Wensum, which half-circles the city on its way to the Broads. But Pull’s Ferry and the river also represent the setting-off point for another character’s rather similar journey from what is their familiar world towards the unknown.