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Collected Folk Tales Hardcover – 27 Oct 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks; First Thus edition (27 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007445970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007445974
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.9 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“The stories are written in a variety of voices, but the prose is always spare and hard, not a word wasted, not a word out of place… And if, by the time I have grandchildren, there are still public libraries, I trust that they will find this book in one, and take it to a quiet corner and read.” Neil Gaiman

“…the great collections of British folk-tales, such as this one, should be treated in two ways: first, they should be bound in gold and brought out on special occasions as national treasures; and second, they should be printed in editions of hundreds of thousands, at the public expense, and given away free to every young teacher and every new parent.” Philip Pullman

About the Author

Alan Garner’s first book, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, is cited as a major influence by many of today’s greatest fantasy writers. Among his other acclaimed books are Elidor and The Owl Service, which won the Guardian Award and the Carnegie Medal. Alan was born and still lives in Cheshire, and its local mythology plays a significant part in his work.


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alan Garner is a marvellous wordsmith, who's turn of phrase is a blend of the modern readable and the ancient - just one line finishing a tale here for example
"and of her he was as glad as grass would be of rain" is worthy of ee cummings.

This is not all his own work - there are re-tellings here - and what could be wrong with re-telling a folk tale in your own words? that is the very nature of the art.

The tales (as pointed out correctly by another Amazon reviewer) are not all British at all - there are India, Japanese and North American amongst the stories, and this lends a depth to common elements (magic, devils, faeries) as well as a richness to the voices that the writer must "speak" with. For me, I liked all the voices, but some might find the refrain (or repetititous phrases) of old norse rendered through 21st century English a little annoying. This is not the Owl Service or the Weirdstone of Brisingamen...it is more like Garner's more recent work, but of course, he is, as he says in the brief introduction, trying a double trick - re-telling oral tradition in writing, and re-imagining it as if his grandfather (a smith) was reciting it to the current author as a child. This works well in some stories, and is less visible in others.

I would suggest reading this aloud to your children to see how well he has succeeded. My kids are to old so I had to pretend, and it worked very nicely for my inner child.

Oh, and there is a smattering of poems here - I thought they were superb, and alone worth getting the book for.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the best book of stories I own to read aloud. It steals your breath and fills you with dread, it opens doors to lost times and touches magic. I cannot recommend this highly enough. Sit by the fire and light the lamp and read it to adults or children in the evening.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Usual excellent re-telling of folk tales from Garner. JUST BE AWARE, though, that although some are new, it also includes the whole of the Random House & Puffin book 'A Book of Goblins' ('Cavalcade of Goblins'), published from 1969 to the mid-70s.

BUT, as that set his standard in this field and has been long out-of-print (& look at some of the silly prices being asked for it now!), it still represents a welcome 're-issue'.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book does NOT contain the stories 'Kate crackernuts' or 'Gold tree and Silver tree' as stated in the description. Who knows what else is missing? It certainly isn't complete. I have returned the item for refund as a result. Rather disappointed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In the description it mentions definitive collection of British Folk tales. In fact they are worldwide ones including tales from various indigenous native groups. I thought the writer would have tweaked and rewritten some of the tales with a more readable feel but the tales are actually relatively raw which makes them feel odd at times where perhaps the verbal tradition or other old language causes the story to feel a little basic and jumpy when read. Some of the tales have an introduction which hints at something amazing in the tale to follow but does not explain anything about the history, root native group it comes from or any other crunchy facts which would help the reader understand the point in time or context in which the tale was used.

I have enjoyed reading some of the tales and will dive in again but found the Kindle version limited in information and expensive when you consider the lack of additional information about the text.
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