By Sean Howe
Updated February 08, 2008 at 05:00 AM EST

Burt Hecker, a hard-drinking, overweight 63-year-old widower, has a tendency to live in the past. Several hundred years in the past, actually — he’s a medieval reenactor, an obsession that’s taken a dramatic toll on his family. But Burt’s also an elegant narrator, and his efforts to hurl himself into the present are chronicled with smart, casually poetic observations (”Lonna looks me over as if I were a product she had hoped would be bigger, or cheaper”). Even if Burt can’t transcend time, Tod Wodicka’s novel, All Shall Be Well; and All Shall Be Well; and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well can. A

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