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Clockwork Paperback – 4 Sep 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi Childrens; New edition edition (4 Sep 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440863430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440863434
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.7 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 619,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on 19th October 1946. The early part of his life was spent travelling all over the world, because his father and then his stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he first met the wonders of comics, and grew to love Superman and Batman in particular. From the age of 11, he lived in North Wales, having moved back to Britain. It was a time when children were allowed to roam anywhere, to play in the streets, to wander over the hills, and he took full advantage of it. His English teacher, Miss Enid Jones, was a big influence on him, and he still sends her copies of his books.

After he left school he went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English. He did a number of odd jobs for a while, and then moved back to Oxford to become a teacher. He taught at various middle schools for twelve years, and then moved to Westminster College, Oxford, to be a part-time lecturer. He taught courses on the Victorian novel and on the folk tale, and also a course examining how words and pictures fit together. He eventually left teaching in order to write full-time.

His first published novel was for adults, but he began writing for children when he was a teacher. Some of his novels were based on plays he wrote for his school pupils, such as The Ruby In The Smoke. He is best known for the award winning His Dark Materials series, consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

Product Description

Amazon Review

While Philip Pullman's greatest popularity is as a creator of novel-length magical realism for young adults, such as The Northern Lights, he continues to explore and stretch the limits of other children's and young adult genres. Clockwork is no exception. With its inspiration lying solidly in the German romantic tradition of E.T.A. Hoffmann and the Brothers Grimm, the story begins, as all good fairy tales do, with someone whose human weakness sets events inescapably in motion. As the townspeople of Glockenheim gather in the White Horse Tavern on the eve of the unveiling of a new figure for their great town clock, Karl, the clockmaker's apprentice, reveals to Fritz, a young storyteller, that he has not been able to construct the figure. A new clock figure is expected of all apprentices, and Karl is the first in hundreds of years to fail. Fritz, in his turn, has the beginnings of a new story to tell, and as it rolls off his tongue, its dark antagonist materializes and offers Karl his dearest wish. Not surprisingly, Karl's Faustian pact brings him destruction, but an innocent child is the deus ex machina that saves another child and the spirit of the town from seemingly ineluctable oblivion. With its eerie black-and-white illustrations by Leonid Gore and its happily-ever-after ending to some thrilling suspense, Clockwork is a fine fairy tale for younger children and a thought- provoking twist on the art of narrative for older ones. --Barrie Trinkle

Review

"A thrilling masterwork on stories that become real" (Amanda Craig The Times)

"It has the feel of a classic fairy tale. It's the most elegantly constructed, chilling story that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck" (Jacqueline Wilson)

"Deeply satisfying and deserves to become a classic" (TES)

"Exciting, scary, romantic and deliciously readable" (Guardian)

"It is Pullman's talent for creating an atmospheric mood and tugging at your emotions to add pace and suspense that really keeps you entranced" (Junior) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A. Craig HALL OF FAME on 18 April 2003
Format: Paperback
'Clockwork' is one of the miniature marvels of modern storytelling, a thrilling tale about good versus evil, kindness versus selfishness and life versus art. The tape, read by Anton Lesser, has just kept my children spellbound in the car for its entire duration.
The great clock of Glockenheim (which really exists)features clockwork figures that come out and move at different times of day or year, and the prospect of a new one by Karl, the clock-maker's apprentice is an event that has people coming from far and wide. On the eve of this great event, a number of people gather in the local inn to hear the latest story by Frtiz, a novelist, who is famed for his hair-raising tales. The one he tells tonight is about their ruler, Prince Otto, who returned from a hunting expedition with his little son Florian, with no heart, only a piece of clockwork that caused him to lash and lash his horses...
Just so, says the narrator, is a story wound up - and this is a tale as finely balanced as a work by the sinister Dr.Kalemenius. How can a little clockwork Prince find a new heart? How can Karl redeem himself from not having fulfilled his contract?
A marvellous, creepy, wise and funny story about a Faustian pact and storytelling itself, it's perfect for children of 7 upwards.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Romelly on 15 Mar 2007
Format: Paperback
Clockwork by Philip Pullman is one of the most gripping and entertaining books I have ever read, it has thrills and leaves you on a cliff hanger on almost every page.

I read it in about 3 or 4 days, it's one of those books which you start reading thinking you might not like it, then after a chapter you can't put the book down. It was the first Philip Pullman book I've read, and now I can't wait to read another one of his books, or even read Clockwork again.

I'd recommend it by far, and would you believe that I came across this book in my school.(WHAT A GREAT BOOK TO PICK!!)

From Romelly aged 10
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Jan 2005
Format: Paperback
I've read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy and his Sally Lockhart quartet, and loved both series, and I'd been considering buying this for some time. I only got round to it a few days ago, and I'm so glad I did - it's an absolutely fantastic story, brilliantly constructed and written. Don't be put off by its appearance as a "kid's book" - I'm in my 20s and was blown away by it. It has the feel of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. There are quirky characters, magical and scary creations, and a wonderful atmosphere. What's so impressive about it is the way the story is constructed - just like, as the title suggest, clockwork. It's told in two separate parts, which both lead up to a third part when the two stories come together - but the second part is very much a part of the first part, seen from a different point of view. There are also insightful and amusing little asides on almost every page, little snippets of information, like the little cogs that all add up to make a clock work. You get little pieces of the puzzle, and finally everything comes together and makes sense at the end - it is a fantastic story. Overall, a wonderful book by Philip Pullman, who has the amazing ability to write stories that appeal to both adults and children. I can't wait to read more of his fairy tales.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Jan 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the first book I have read by Philip Pullman but it certainly won't be the last. This is a book which draws you in right from the start and leaves you thinking about it long after you've turned the last page. A mix of science fiction and fantasy which can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jo Bennie VINE VOICE on 5 Oct 2009
Format: Audio CD
As the narrator of this scary fairy tale says, Pullman winds up his story and lets it play and it is dark and terrifying in the great tradition of Grimm and Andersen. The people of Glockenheim gather in the White Horse Tavern to hear the young storyteller Fritz tell a ghost story. Slumped at the bar is the clockmaker's apprentice, Karl, who is due to reveal his clockwork figure for the famous town clock the next day but hasn't made it yet. But Fritz has left his story unfinished and counted on being struck by inspiration when he comes to the end. Instead, the story begins to take on a life of its own and a terrible stranger enters the inn and offers Karl his heart's desire, and his choice between right and wrong sets the story ticking on.

Pullman doesn't disappoint, a haunting short read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Meyrick on 3 July 2009
Format: Paperback
Clockwork Review - Purple Group

Philip Pullman's clockwork book has really struck us with excitement and kept us on the edge of our seats. The start of the book is real glum, as there are too many characters to keep track of. Nothing really makes us want to read on as there's nothing interesting hidden around the corner.

The book is set in Germany (Schatzberg) in a pub filled with people, there's Karl, a lazy clockmaker apprentice who abandoned his duties and now is in trouble! Will he redeem himself? There's a storyteller called Fritz with hair-raising stories in mind. One dark night of Schatzberg he told about a prince called Florian who wasn't real, he had a deep secret... There's no trouble until he came to life! Is the town of Schatzberg safe?

Amazing, mind blowing with a surprise on every single page. We would recommend to children and adults (not young children because there's a scene where someone's neck is slit.) as the book is a great read with an eerie glow to it, only for people who love mystery, horror and a bit of super-stition.
Philip Pullman has really thought of what's happening next.

If there was anything to change it would be the beginning of the book, maybe take out the characters not needed and have a bit of mystery like it has though out the book.

I would rate the book 7 out of 10.

Reviewed by Brandon and Co (Year 6)
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