Clockwork, or, All Wound up Paperback – 31 Dec 1998
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|Paperback, 31 Dec 1998||
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
* "Pullman, the consummate storyteller, offers a deliciously spooky story combining elements of Frankenstein, the Sorcerer's Apprentice, and Faust." Booklist, starred review * "In this tightly wound tale by the author of The Golden Compass and Count Karlstein...a delectably spooky train of events is set in motion when the novelist Fritz sets out to entertain the villagers with his most recent work: the tale of Prince Florian, the deceased local ruler's son, whose fate is linked to a brilliant clockmaker." Publishers Weekly, starred review * "Pullman manages to weave together the threads from both the story and the story within the story in a book filled with tension, menace, and suspense." School Library Journal, starred review * "An intricate little novel [that] ticks along to a gratifying conclusion that is more fable than fantasy." Kirkus, pointer review "Pullman's deft evocation of atmosphere stands him in good stead here, keeping suspension of disbelief alive as he tells the story within the story and brings his characters round the full, magical circle of his plot." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "A suspenseful story-within-a-story richly woven by the award-winning author of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife, Clockwork has all the elements of a great fantasy for adults as well as for kids: a despicable villain, a brave heroine and a heart in need of rescue. Pullman's setting may be vaguely historical, but his characters are decidedly updated: It's a young prince who needs to be saved, and it's a brave girl who does the saving." TimeOut New York "The tale is seamless, resolving happily and convincingly, with both the good and brave and the craven and cowardly receiving appropriate rewards. Pullman laces his tale with subtle humor while maintaining the suspense until the end. Misty, moody, and atmospheric black-and-white drawings by Leonid Gore make a perfect fit for this gothic gem." VOYASee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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
`Clockwork' for me is a great and atmospheric read, and could well have been a lot longer; it's a very short story which seems a great pity... It's a riveting story of supernatural and dark themes, and when you read the first pages, it appears as if the writer began perhaps intending this story to be much more sinister than it actually is. I also found the cover a bit misleading, (the second this has happened to me with a Pullman book) which would hint and suggest that this is probably more of a child's read, but it is in fact a great read for readers of any age group. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has only encouraged me to read more books by this author!
This is a very short read - I'm sure it was much bigger when I was younger! - but it is full of a very creepy kind of charm. Pullman paints a beautiful picture in a wintery German village with a wonderful clock who's clockwork figures are marveled at from all over the world and which you'd have to watch the whole year round to see each piece come out. It's so magical and picturesque.
Even as an adult, I still found the story very creepy. It reads like a cross between a Grimm tale and a Victorian fairy tale and the overall effect is equal parts charming and sinister. The different threads of the story weave perfectly together to create the perfect quick and scary read.
Alongside the story there are little comments and asides from the narrator with lovely little pictures to go with them. These sometimes add a little more background information on characters and places, or just little warnings from the narrator to his characters. Because, as he says, once a story is wound up, there's no stopping it.
I'm going to end with a quote because I loved it so much:
"For every once upon a time there must be a story to follow, because if a story doesn't, something else will and it might not be as harmless as a story."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
'Clockwork' is one of the miniature marvels of modern storytelling, a thrilling tale about good versus evil, kindness versus selfishness and life versus art. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Emma Louise Stitch
Absolutely fantastic. Great for about 9 years upwards I wouldnt consider it to have an upper age limit! It is a bit spooky for younger kids depending on their maturity. Read morePublished 8 months ago by snowy
Bought for my 12 yr old son who lives audio books. He's a big fan of Philip Pullman, especial the I Was A Rat story, which he said was both funny and clever, but found this story... Read morePublished 8 months ago by W. Rye
An excellent macabre tale that twists and intertwines effortlessly. A brilliant read even now as an adult.Published 11 months ago by j.annis-brown
fast delivery,as advertised thanks. Evem better if post was combinedPublished 12 months ago by anhalf