Collected Folk Tales Hardcover – 27 Oct 2011
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“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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Top Customer Reviews
"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.
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'.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great read, not all tales are suitable for children's bedtimes though....Published 23 months ago by Chris Yoxall