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Thursbitch Hardcover – 2 Oct 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Press (2 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843430878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843430872
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 1.7 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 490,958 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

Review

...the experience of reading is so overwhelming that, after closing the book, it remains more real than anything around one. -- Stephen Howe, Independent

A rare flight of the imagination - and an unforgettable book -- Clare Alfree, Metro

His art reaches out from the society of ancestors... with trepidation undoubtedly but also with a transforming, youthful hope. -- Paul Binding, Independent

Magnificent -- James Urqhart, FT

Book Description

Keynote/Publisher's Comment" Through the manipulation of history, of the myths which are man's spiritual history -Garner enlarges our understanding of the human condition, of the relationship of man to man, of man to nature, and of man to god" NEIL PHILIP, from A Fine Anger. (2003-03-03)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Mark Shackelford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 April 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This short book packs in a vast panorama - but this unfolds in your head rather than on the page. His poetic evocation of landscape through the lists of wonderful place-names is glorious, and the intertwined ghost stories - each period haunted by the spirits of the other - only become clear as the characters let you into their souls bit by bit.
If you love the ancient English countryside, and enjoy some real magic - read this book. The language is occassionally obscure but well worth the effort.
As a child I loved the Wierdstone of Brisinghamen and the Moon of Gomrath - and now that I am "grown-up", I was delighted to find an Alan Garner book for adults.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By J. Brennan on 9 Jan. 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alan Garner has consistently written captivating and elegaic novels. From The Weirdstone of Brisingamen right up to date with Thursbitch. Don't let the mildly off putting title distract you. This is a superb novel reverberating between the past and the present. Its material is quite dark but Garner puts it all in a context which ends on a sad but triumphant note. Even though it a quite short it is so crammed with meaning that you feel as though you have just read a block buster. And indeed you have, if you like thought provoking, orignal and moving stories Thursbitch is exceptional - buy it now.
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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Oct. 2003
Format: Hardcover
I don't have the words to describe Thursbitch, the book. Hauntingly beautiful, sad and uplifting, enthralling and terrible: these only hint at the magic that Alan Garner has pursued for half a century, and which he now shares with us.
The dust jacket describes Thursbitch as a "visionary fable rooted in a verifiable place". It doesn't mention Alan Garner's fanatical depth of research; his ability to awaken atmosphere from the earth and stones under our feet; the uncannily bare descriptions of people and place, leaving everything but nothing to the reader's imagination; or the sheer honesty which pervades every page.
Thursbitch is Alan Garner's solution to a conundrum, an ancient puzzle, but it is so much more than an historical novel. It is built from the humanity of the Stone Book quartet; it resolves the questions left by Red Shift; draws more mythic power from the land than the Owl Service; and resonates with the poetry which concluded the Moon of Gomrath. Strandloper, an incredible achievement, stands now as a waymarker: Thursbitch is the heart.
Read it, quietly and alone, and be humbled.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JP Sivori on 21 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback
Once a year maybe, if you're lucky, you come across a book that takes you somewhere you've never been before. That's what I read books for anyhow. A combination of story, language and character usually does the trick. Thursbitch is a gem. Yes, it took a few pages to atune myself to the language of 18th Century Cheshire but the same thing happened 15 years ago when I first read White Jazz - then it was 1950s Los Angeles crime slang. Once you are on the book's wavelength and in its world, you will be transported by the author's imagination and his masterly style - even the modern dialog is fresh and original. Its a breath of fresh air from the pallid and bland fare you can sometime end up with.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. V. Williams on 17 May 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Thursbitch, a real settlement in the Cheshire uplands, events and beliefs of the past still linger on, so that stories are told and events replayed in the dark history of this pagan setting. This is more than a retelling of an ancient myth, Thursbitch exerts its influence over the people living there today, and Garner experienced the strangeness of it while doing his research into the story. It is deeper and darker as a result. For the reader, the fact that the time line is so fluid in the book can pose problems. I gave up trying to follow the characters and plot too closely and decided that reading it was like listening to music - one should receive it on a different wavelength without intellectualising about it. I didn't enjoy reading it, but I would recommend it to any writer interested in settings and their power over the reader, and to readers who appreciate dark and mysterious stories that step beyond the bounds of fiction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JB TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thursbitch is set, like so many of Alan Garner's novels, in Cheshire, and more specifically around Alderley; it's a region from which the Garner family has roots traceable back to the sixteenth century at least. His grandfather passed on local folk tales orally, and the rich dialect of the area must have sunk in deep along with the stories.

Garner's story here is far from a fire-side tale. We're witnesses to the juxtaposition of two parallel experiences in time, separated by centuries. The reader is immediately immersed in the hard, unforgiving yet at times humorous world of the mid-eighteenth century peasant. Few concessions are made, and the dialogue is rich, the references enigmatic. Side by side, we are accompanying two contemporary hikers as they make a final journey in a landscape they both love. Again, in the 'modern' thread, we're eavesdroppers, having to pick up leads where we can; all of this makes Thursbitch both demanding but also - once we're in the zone - riveting.

The theme of love and loss dominate both skeins, the currents colliding when emotion heightens to such an extent that it seems to break through the invisible and unknowable barriers of time itself.

Full of folk and classical themes, Thursbitch is work will reward those who seek something deeper than surface detail, and sense a resonance of sanctity in certain enduring landscapes.
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