- Paperback: 229 pages
- Publisher: Voyager; New Ed edition (3 Mar. 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007109296
- ISBN-13: 978-0007109296
- Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 797,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Parzival and the Stone from Heaven: A grail romance retold for our time Paperback – 3 Mar 2003
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Praise for ‘Parzival’:
“As soon as I began to read I was entranced and enthralled… In Clarke’s Parzival, action is compulsively cryptic and elliptical, as if the tale told itself. … You will not want to reach the equivalent of page 180 but when you do, you will wander back and begin again.”
The Independent on Sunday
“…an appealing retelling of one of the West’s primary myths.”
The Times Literary Supplement
“In adapting this story for a modern-day audience, Clarke has unearthed a gem.”
The Saturday Times Magazine
“…a masterly, accessible and inspirational retelling of the legend.”
‘Lindsay Clarke is surely right in seeing Parzival as having urgent relevance for our time .. exceptional’
John Moat, poet
A wonderful retelling of the legendary story of Parzival, the knight who is given the task of finding the Holy Grail. In the same vein as Seamus Heaney's Beowulf but written as magically as The Alchemist. "If you are to appear before the High King in his court, you'd better have the proper finery," his mother said craftily. "Let me see what I can do." So she cut a tabard out of old sackcloth and a rough pair of buskins out of calf-skin. "And you must have a plume, such as knights wear on their helmets," she said, threading the stems of holly leaves through the crown of his cowl so that he looked like a savage green man from the woods. And so, Parzival arrives at King Arthur's court: a holy fool whom all the knights in that glittering company will mock.' Yet in a world ravaged by war, a world in which men are ruled by fear, hatred and distrust, there is a need for a champion who is innocent of heart and pure of spirit. Arthur's knights are proud and corrupt: none has yet succeeded in finding the Grail, the stone of healing which has the power to make life whole again. But Parzival's destiny may prove greater than that of any other knight...See all Product description
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The original is worth reading, but it is also a long tale with digressions which modern readers may find ponderous and slow. Those familiar with Wagner's opera will find many additional details and twists to the story, perhaps to be fair left out because of the need to compress when adapting things to the stage. It is a tribute to Lindsay Clarke that he manages to retell this great tale, keeping the essential details but in a shorter version. Thus this book might either be read as a primer before going on to Eschenbach's work, or instead of reading the older version. Either way, you wont be disappointed with this more modern retelling which has pace and stile.
Clarke signs off the novel as if he were Eschenbach, thus reflecting the original. The story is of the young boy Parzival who is an innocent, pure fool who has a number of misadventures along the way to becoming a knight at King Arthur's court, who then finds it is his destiny to seek the Grail. It is a story rich in symbolism which Clarke explores at the end in essay which forms afterword, with some references for further reading, in which he explains why he sees this as a story of our time.
All in all a great read that withstands repeated readings.
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