Brunt Boggart: A Tapestry of Tales Paperback – 4 May 2015
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These are utterly wonderful new-old tales. In his bones, David Greygoose understands the rhythms of great storytelling, with its incantations, repetitions, knowing asides and snappy dialogue, and he has a frankly marvellous ear for the music of language. This tapestry is inventive and witty, dramatic and moving, and deeply earthed in the superstitions and folk beliefs of old England. Now that I ve stepped into Brunt Boggart, I know that part of me will never leave it. --Kevin Crossley-Holland
David Greygoose is a master-storyteller, creating the visceral netherworld that is Brunt Boggart. Greygoose draws deeply on the riches of Britain s folklore to conjure up dark and whimsical tales of an imagined village. I found myself lost in the wildflower meadows, mossy hollows and wolf pits of Brunt Boggart. --Emily Portman
Brunt Boggart is a skilfully crafted collection of timeless tales which connects the reader on a visceral level. Each is as true a tale as ever was told. Just as a great sculptor sees the divine form within the slab of granite, Greygoose has stripped away all that is extraneous exposing the primal folk-tales which lay buried in us all. --John Reppion
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It was the boys that found him – Hamsparrow and Bullbreath, Larkspittle and Longskull, Shadowit, Scarum, Scatterlegs and Crossdogs – boys who went on a mission to find the wolf that they thought had been stalking the streets of Brunt Boggart, but who instead found a wild boy who had been abandoned in the forest as a baby. Greychild was coaxed into the village, where he found a home with Old Granny Willowmist, although many of the older residents felt that he didn’t belong among them. As for Greychild himself, he wasn’t really sure where he belonged. One thing was certain though, he had vague memories of his mother and he was desperate to see her again.
In Brunt Boggart, David Greygoose weaves the story of Greychild and his quest to find his mother around the lives of those who live in the village, those he meets on his journey and those who reside in distant lands. The first part of the book is set in and around the village of Brunt Boggart itself, where Greychild lives for a while among the mystics, tinkers, otherworldly teens, alchemists, trickers and rustics who call it home. All of the residents have their own stories to tell, although as it’s a relatively small place, many of the stories overlap, with certain people and issues rising to prominence before slipping back quietly into the shadows of village life.
In the second part of Brunt Boggart, Greychild departs from the village and follows the pedlar man’s track through the countryside in search of his mother. His journey takes him to places that are different, but no less strange, than the village. Along the way, he meets other ethereal creatures, such as the goose girl, the waking sleepers and the daughter of the wind, all of whom have their own stories to tell. Almost everywhere he ventures is at least somewhat off-kilter and he faces danger, enticement and intrigue at practically every turn. There are less tales told in this second part than in the first part of the book, but they are equally good, equally unsettling even. Some of the villagers also put in repeat appearances here, since time doesn’t stop for them simply because Greychild has left.
Greychild’s journey ends in Arleccra, a city of treasures and temptation, and the stories that comprise the third part of the book are set in that peculiar place. Although he has finally arrived at the place he has sought for so long, Greychild still has to escape the danger posed by Milkthistle, confront the legend of Gobbeth, barter with Scritch, gamble with Snizzleslide and much more besides. As for the power of the Eye of Glass, only after reading the entire tapestry of stories that make up Brunt Boggart will it become clear whether or not Greychild finally discovers what he has been searching for the whole time.
Brunt Boggart is made up of a marvellous collection of dream-like stories, all delightfully odd and many distinctly sinister. These are fairly tales of the darker sort; there are some happy endings, but there are also ambiguous and sometimes downright sad endings to some of the stories. There are heroes and heroines, magic and marvel, but there are also villains, deception and evil, which may even win on the day. It is a book to be savoured and ruminated on.
Bear with this book- it's a rewarding read.