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Clockwork, or, All Wound up Paperback – 31 Dec 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic US; Reprint edition (31 Dec. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590129988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590129985
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13.5 x 0.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,503,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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.

Review

* "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." VOYA

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
'Clockwork' is one of the miniature marvels of modern storytelling, a thrilling tale about good versus evil, kindness versus selfishness and life versus art. The tape, read by Anton Lesser, has just kept my children spellbound in the car for its entire duration.
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.
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By A Customer on 26 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
I've read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy and his Sally Lockhart quartet, and loved both series, and I'd been considering buying this for some time. I only got round to it a few days ago, and I'm so glad I did - it's an absolutely fantastic story, brilliantly constructed and written. Don't be put off by its appearance as a "kid's book" - I'm in my 20s and was blown away by it. It has the feel of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. There are quirky characters, magical and scary creations, and a wonderful atmosphere. What's so impressive about it is the way the story is constructed - just like, as the title suggest, clockwork. It's told in two separate parts, which both lead up to a third part when the two stories come together - but the second part is very much a part of the first part, seen from a different point of view. There are also insightful and amusing little asides on almost every page, little snippets of information, like the little cogs that all add up to make a clock work. You get little pieces of the puzzle, and finally everything comes together and makes sense at the end - it is a fantastic story. Overall, a wonderful book by Philip Pullman, who has the amazing ability to write stories that appeal to both adults and children. I can't wait to read more of his fairy tales.
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Format: Paperback
Clockwork by Philip Pullman is one of the most gripping and entertaining books I have ever read, it has thrills and leaves you on a cliff hanger on almost every page.

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
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Format: Paperback
This is the first book I have read by Philip Pullman but it certainly won't be the last. This is a book which draws you in right from the start and leaves you thinking about it long after you've turned the last page. A mix of science fiction and fantasy which can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
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Format: Paperback
it is a great book by a great author, Phillip Pullman has really tried to take you into the pages and release the magic and he has succeded i would recommend it to anyone who enjoys mysteries, it is a great investigation for all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After the dreadful disappointment of the awful `Northern Lights', this is the second book by Philip Pullman I have enjoyed - the last one being `The Scarecrow And His Servant'. (see my review for that title)

`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!

Five Stars!
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Format: Paperback
This is a book I read when I was much younger and thought I'd revisit. I really love reading these old(ish) books now and sharing with people, and hopefully getting a few to read them!

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."
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