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on 15 August 2012
Alan Garner is best known for his books for younger teenagers, with their strong elements of folklore: first, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath, both set around Alderley Edge in Cheshire, but stepping from the everyday world to a parallel world full of terror and delight. Then there's Elidor, where an ordinary family find they have a foot in two worlds and have to work through world-shaking events. Garner's Stone Book Quartet changes the focus slightly to cover times, rather than worlds; Red Shift deals with the way one's world changes with adolescence. The Owl Service visits Wales and Welsh myth and legend, bringing together the strands of place and time.

Alan Garner's later novels, Thursbitch and Strandloper, are less for children than for adults, but again the blend of time, place and mythologies is a powerful mix.

In "The Voice That Thunders" Alan Garner describes events and places in his own life that have influenced and inspired his work. The reader gains a real sense of Garner's ability to wander in alternative realities, and we see how powerful a tool his imagination is, and how powerful an influence Alderley Edge has on that imagination.

"The Voice That Thunders" is highly recommended for anyone who has read and enjoyed Garner's fiction. More appropriate for adults and older children than for the under-12s.
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on 15 January 2011
I bought this in the 50th anniversay year of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. This was a favourite childhood book and even now it remains in my top five. Ita has probably influenced my reading and writing ever since a special teacher read it to me as an 8 year old. Dipping into this book has given me an understanding of how Alan Garner feels things and how he creates the magic of words. Well worth getting if you're interested in creativity.
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on 28 January 2005
As near to an autobiography as you can get.
A roughly chronological detail of the various things that have shaped Alan Garner's outlook and writing.
A pleasure to read in itself and also quite open and frank for an otherwise elusive writer.
A review can't really do it justice - if you like his work, then it should be on your bookshelf.
Will probably be of interest to folk who have a professional interest in books, publishing and literature, together with people with anthropology interests that overlap folklore, mythology and man's place in the landscape...
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on 27 November 2014
If you are one of the many millions of Alan Garner fans you need to read this book. It's not a novel, it's a collection of talks and seminars that he has given through the years, but together they combine to produce what actually reads as an autobiography, or at least a narrative of his formative years and how his creativity has developed. It seems hard to believe that Garner is now in his 80th year. His powerful writing has thrilled and moved so many, including me.
Born in Congleton, Cheshire, from a family that has roots centuries deep in the local landscape and culture, all Garner's life and work has been shaped by a profound sense of the place. Garner and the landscape around Alderley Edge are inconceivable without each other. The place has shaped him in the deepest sense and he now shapes our own view of it. He had a sickly childhood, hearing himself pronounced dead at the age of six! Happy years at Manchester Grammar School and Oxford, where he studied Latin, Greek, Ancient History and Philosophy followed. He returned to live near The Edge and to embrace its history and its legends that so much suffuse all his work.
In this book he takes us through the beginning of his writing and the obsessive care with which he writes. Most books took many years to complete. He shares his interest in the local archaeology and the mythology with which he so deeply engages. His own family played a crucial role in the development of the Alderley legend: a great-grandfather who carved the Wizard into the rock by the well and who made the stone circle that is referred to in the Weirdstone. All of Garner's work is permeated with a profound sense of geography (I read him with a map close to hand) and I doubt if he ever invented a fictional place in any text. If you look closely and follow the clues in the books, you'll find it's all there on the ground.
Readers of Garner will know that from The Weirdstone on there is a crucial content of legend and ancient story-telling, and it's probably true to say that he never wrote a book that wasn't, at some level, about myth, culminating supremely in 'Strandloper'. (1996) In 'The Voice That Thunders' he shares with us his deepest convictions about belief, language, what it is to be human and the universality of story-telling. Along the way he also describes honestly and bravely his own personal battle with depression.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Garner's books changed my life, leading me into a life-long interest in history and legend. I know he has done the same for many others. If, like me, you want to understand the very private man behind the texts then you must read 'The Voice That Thunders'. It is the very essence of Alan Garner. And may he live to write for another 80 years.
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on 27 December 2012
This collection of essays gives fans of Alan Garner's work a real insight into the man himself and his background. If you have enjoyed his books, this is a vital addition and well worth buying.
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on 17 November 2014
I began to read this book of essays and lectures with some trepidation. Since before my teenage years I have loved Alan Garner’s books and have grown up with them at my side, but it has been a relationship that has become progressively difficult. His books, particularly Strandloper and Thursbitch, which can be near to incomprehensible. I was thus worried, that this book of essays would be a similarly difficult read.

I am so glad that I didn’t let these concerns stop me from reading The Voice That Thunders though. Yes, there are some intellectally challenging chapters that shows Garner’s detailed knowledge of his subject, but mostly it is a collection of talks that cannot fail you to write stories and enjoy words.

It’s a book that I can’t begin to count the number of times I quoted sections from it, let alone the number of times I didn’t because it wasn’t convenient at the time, and then I’d passed another half dozen of quotable passages. An inspiring read!
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on 18 September 2012
Alan Garner is truly extraordinary. A Grown Up in ways so few people seem to be any more. As rich, lucid and deep as an oak grown up around a rock in a place people have visited for thousands of years. Challenging, painful and joyful and to be drawn in from the roots.
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on 5 December 2012
Yet again Garner stretches your mind and informs.Perhaps a new reader should try a novel first.Try Thursbitch. Then maybe The Stone Book Quartet .
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on 19 September 2014
This collection of talks and essays provides fascinating insights into Garner's evolution as a writer, as well as the background to his books. He clearly has strong views on the uses of language and literature, some of which I share and some not, but overall it is a rare opportunity to really get inside the mind of a favourite author.
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on 28 December 2014
This is essential reading for anyone who loves Alan Garner's stories. His essays and lectures give an insight into hos childhood and the land he grew up in and how that has endured in his work.
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