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Cloud & Ashes: Three Winter's Tales Hardcover – 18 Jun 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Big Mouth House (18 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931520550
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931520553
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 3.3 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,796,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"A short story, a longer one, and a novel continue the exploration of the world of Faerie begun in Greer Gilman's lavishly praised 1991 first novel Moonwise. Wind and weather influence the doings of besotted humans and even stranger life forms, in domestic dramas that accelerate subtly into near-Shakespearean conflicts and quests, all expressed in a rich poetic prose laden with fetching archaisms that's unlike anything else being written today. Brilliant and truly innovative fiction, not to be missed."
--Bruce Allen, The Washington Times
"A work that reads like language stripped bare, myth tracked to its origins. Seasons, weather, lust, pain, sacrifice ... the stuff of old ballads becomes intensely real, with the natural contradictions of a cold wind that both chafes and dances.... And the payoff is immense. I finished Cloud & Ashes almost tempted to write a thesis that compares it favorably to what James Joyce did in Ulysses and tried in Finnegan's Wake, yet feeling like I'd lived through it all."
"Every so often, and it's a rare event, you read a book and you know, because of its depth and excellence, that you will return to it in the years to come. For me, this is one of those books. It's a tale, or tales, not just for reading, but for pondering and rereading. It's a book to pluck off the shelf of a winter's night, just for the sake of wandering again within its pages; for the sake of finding unnoticed connections, for savouring language, and for pondering the nature of stories, souls, and the stars."
--Matthew David Surridge, Black Gate
"Cloud & Ashes is not a book for every reader; but it is a book for every human. (It's also a book for every library that desires to be worthy of that appellation.) There might seem to be a contradiction in those words, and there might well be, were every human to read. But to my, mind reading is an effort that exists outside its own exercise; that is when we read, it may feel like an internal, unshared, indeed unsharable experience. But that is not, I think the case. When we read, we go to the place where writing comes from, and in so doing, I think we leave something of ourselves behind as readers. Greer Gilman found whatever it is that is left behind, she has captured it in her net of words and managed to write it down and get it published. That is a herculean feat. It may only happen once in her lifetime or in ours. But it's happened here and now. What you do with it is up to you. For eternity, as it happens."
--Rick Kleffel
"A book whose hold on your mind, on your memory, is assured. It is a story about story, and stories are what we are all made of. Abandon hope all ye who enter here."
--Paul Kincaid, SF Site
"Gilman's 'A Crowd of Bone' . . . is dense, jammed with archaic words and neologisms . . . but the story--complex, tangled in narrative as well as syntax, and very dark--rewards the most careful of readings."
--The Washington Post Book World
"'Green quince and bletted medlar, quiddany and musk' Greer Gilman fills your mouth with wincing tastes, your ears with crowcalls, knockings and old, old rhythms, your eyes with beautiful and battered creatures, sly-eyed, luminous or cackling as they twine and involute their stories. Gilman writes like no one else. To read her is to travel back, well back, in time; to wander in thrall through mist on moor and fell; to sink up to the nostrils in a glorious bog of legend and language, riddled with bones and iron, sodden with witches' blood."
--Margo Lanagan, author of Tender Morsels
"Greer Gilman is a master of myth and language with few equals in this world. Cloud and Ashes is a triumphant, heart-rending triptych, a mosaic of folklore, intellectual pyrotechnics, and marvelous, motley characters that takes the breath and makes the blood beat faster."--Catherynne M. Valente, author of In the Night Garden
"No one else writes like Greer Gilman. She is one of our most innovative and important writers, in fantasy or out of it. If you want to see what language can do, the heart-stopping beauty it can achieve, read Cloud & Ashes."
--Theodora Goss, author of In the Forest of Forgetting --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Greer Gilman is the author of the novel Moonwise, which won the Crawford Award and was shortlisted for the Tiptree and Mythopoeic Awards, as well as the World Fantasy Award-winning "A Crowd of Bone." A sometime forensic librarian, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Format: Hardcover
A novel comprising three connected tales: the previously published short works "Jack Daw's Pack" and "A Crowd of Bone", followed by the new, novel-length "Unleaving". Set in a mythic land akin to Britain, complete with fantastic dialect and its own mythology. Which, ahh. Love. So real and flawed. Over the course of the book, several characters take on this mythology and in the end radically alter it: this is the core plot, around which are the lives of various people affected by the Ashes myth.

The two short parts are tightly written: the first flits around the myth of Ashes and the woman Whin's intersection with it, the second concerns Thea, daughter of goddess Annis, and her attempt to flee her mother's influence. However, the pace of "Unleaving" dawdled before running. Too much time is spent on Margaret - grand-daughter of Annis - who, having fled her prison in the myth-world, arrives at a country house and settles there with its owner Grevil and his staff. She helps Grevil with his academic pursuits, she makes a telescope and looks at the stars, she mets the "crow lad", illegitimate child of a woman who was Ashes. This takes a surprisingly long time and is not helped by Margaret's comparative blandness as a character - compared to, say, the rarely appearing Whin, the goddesses Malykorne and Brock, even Grevil, whose academic, kind nature is useless against the sinister powers that later appear. Still, put Margaret under the stars and she comes to life, and her quiet smallness is justified by her life before. (Whin, who featured prominently in the two shorter works, is also manouevred by the goddesses but is a harder, more determined, active character. Whin's just cool and I wish more of the book had been about her.
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