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Stone Book Quartet (Cascades) [Hardcover]

Alan Garner
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Oct 1986 000330034X 978-0003300345 New edition
he four stories in this text weave together time and place, skills and secrets to make up the texture of a family's life in different generations.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Collins Educational; New edition edition (9 Oct 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000330034X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0003300345
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 12.4 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,004,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alan Garner was born in Congleton, Cheshire, in 1934. His began writing his first novel at the age of 22 and is renowned as one of Britain's outstanding writers. He has won many prizes for his writing, and, in 2001 he was awarded the OBE for services to literature. He holds two honorary doctorates and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. In 2004 he co-founded The Blackden Trust http://www.theblackdentrust.org.uk/

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Four interconnected fables of a way of living in rural England that has now disappeared.

Craftsmen pass on, or withhold, secrets of their relationship with the natural world, which gives them the material from which they create useful and beautiful things. Smiths and chandlers, steeplejacks and quarrymen – all live and work hand in hand with the seasons, the elements and the land. There is a mutual respect and a knowledge of the magical here that somehow, somewhere was lost to us. These fables beautifully recapture and restore it. And a very particular landscape, on the outskirts of industrial Manchester, is brought tangibly to this beautiful book’s pages.

Alan Garner is widely held to be the most distinctive and memorable writer of children’s literature that Britain has produced since the Second World War. With the publication in 1996 of 'Strandloper', he gained a wider audience for his work among adults, an audience who will find pleasures and rewards aplenty in this modern classic, republished here for the first time in Flamingo.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

alan garner is one of Britain’s greatest living writers for children, the author of such classics as Elidor and The Owl Service. He has done much to explore the disappearing beliefs & traditions of agricultural England. In 1996 he published an acclaimed and unsettling novel for adults, Strandloper (Harvill).

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding but not for children 7 Jan 2005
Alan Garner is very much the precursor of the current cross-over authors like Pullman and Haddon, but is still mystifyingly pigeonholed as a children's writer. Yes the lovely Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Elidor and Moon of Gomrath are classic books for 9-11 year olds, but everything he has written since the spooky Owl Service has become more complex and elusive.
The Stone Book Quartet has to be his finest book and I would suspect possibly one of the major landmarks of 20th century literature. It is a book of awesome power and depth, particularly considering its brevity, but I cannot imagine the child that would read it willingly. This is adult fiction, superbly crafted, pin-point observation and deeply sophisticated. It examines the cumulative layers of human change over four generations of a cheshire family through an oblique lens. Garner's not a kind writer and unswervingly peels back the layers of frailty (and strength) in his characters. I love the Stone Book Quartet unreservedly for its poetic prose and its precision - but I would not expect a child to 'get' it - well maybe a 16/17 year old at a push. I tried to read it when I was about 14, and drifted away from it completely - fortunately I came back to it as an adult. I hope many others will.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb for adults as well 6 Mar 2002
This marvelous book, one of the finest works of fiction of the last quarter of the 20th century, presents one day in the life of each of four generations of a rural British family and ranges from about 1860 to the Battle of Britain. Each tale features a significant moment in the life of the featured child, a moment when a more profound connection is made with a member [or members] of a preceding generation, and in which the reader can see the continuance of tradition and family love. In distinction from Garner's works of the '60s, "Stone Book Quartet" is completely realistic and is worthy of standing alongside his Carnegie- and Guardian-award-winning "Owl Service."
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle, compelling reading 30 July 2004
By A Customer
Alan Garner, author of the classics 'The Weirdstone of Brisinghamen' and 'The Moon of Gomrath' among others, here writes four connected stories, chronicling significant events in the lives of various craftsmen and their families in Cheshire over several generations. The four short stories can each stand alone, but the recurrence of families, places and even people links them together, so that overall we are given a picture of change and continuity in a small community.
Crafts such as those of stone-workers and blacksmiths are described, as one generation passes on secrets and wisdom to the next. People's thoughts on God, war, industry and other social issues are dealt with in passing, as the characters go about their lives.
A gentle but profound book, chronicling a place and an era, and showing beautifully how children move into the adult world as they learn the wisdom and the skills of their elders.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Evocation of Elemental Magic 16 Mar 2006
By Mark Shackelford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
The book is set in England in the 18th or 19th Century, where people are working by hand on various Elements (Stone, Wood, Metal etc,), and brings out the magic of the relationship between Man and the basic Natural elements that are available for him to fashion items from.
The Stone Mason who is building a Church Spire - which is more than just a set of blocks of stone (and has the most terrifying passage for someone like me who is scared of heights - I felt dizzy just reading it!). The Black Smith working with Fire and Metal, and so on...
Very realistic but very magical at the same time - shows what we have lost in our TV society, where everything comes shrink-wrapped and pre-prepared.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising! 23 Sep 2004
I first found the book, believing it had a connection to the fantasy books I have read earlier. As I read it, though, I was not in the least disappointed!
Garner's eye for detail, lore and sentiments is as accurate as ever, bringing the four stories to life in a wonderful way.
The family, all working with stone, in one way or the other, telling their lives' stories.
It's amazing how close to fantasy he gets, while telling real stories, filling the pages with a rich lore surrounding to the lives of ordinary working people.
Take the sledge down the hill with the children, experience this great novel. I only wish I could read it again, for the first time!!
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