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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
17
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 9 September 2013
Having heard Mike O'Connor speak and play I was sure this would be good, and it doesn't disappoint. He bases the book on an actual historical character, Anthony James, who travelled round Cornwall with his son in the early 19th century, playing and telling traditional stores. We follow Anthony and Jamie as they journey round the county one summer, and with Jamie we learn the legends attached to each of the places they visit. So much more readable than just a list of stories, and full of resonances for anyone who lives in Cornwall or who visits on holiday - or just anyone who loves a good tale, well told!
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VINE VOICEon 20 August 2014
An interesting collection of folk tales, some of which I have read before, perhaps in other than Cornish contexts. The folk tales are not told independently, but within a framework narrative of a real Cornish wandering minstrel and storyteller of the early 19th century, Anthony James, an ex-soldier blinded in the Napoleonic wars, wandering from Cury round via Penzance, Lands End, St Ives and Bodmin, among many other places, telling stories to his travelling companion Jamie or to countrypeople they meet en route. Unfortunately I found this narrative rather wooden and punctuated by some grating anachronisms, such as "dunno" and "crumbs" (as in the mild expression of surprise). Lightweight but quite enjoyable overall.
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on 22 October 2010
At first I was worried by the format. I wanted more of the tales not the story of the droll, but Mike leads you in to the world of Anthony James until it too becomes part of the landscape. At the end you feel thst you have been on a wonderful walk with a great storyteller. Would that be Anthony James or Mike O'Connor? Perhaps both.
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on 22 February 2013
It is not often you get a chance to catch up on old forgotten tales and that is what Mike O'Connor has done in his book. The stories are told through an old soldier turned story teller retelling all these old tales. However there is a a twist at the end where the teller becomes the tale.
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on 10 April 2010
This is a little jewel of a book. As it says on the cover, it is certainly a fine collection of Cornish Folk Tales, but it is much more than that. The stories themselves emerge from the pages as if they are being told by a storyteller, which indeed they are, for the whole book is the journey of a travelling storyteller, Anthony James, a figure not of fiction, but of history. This is the the greater story, a fragment of the life of an 18th century "droll teller", meticulously researched and carefully sourced. Yet the academic credentials unobtrusively underpin a really good read, appealing on different levels to all ages-my 11-year old niece was as engrossed as I was! Add to this the tantalising references to the music and musicians of the period, an area in which the author is uniquely qualified, and the delightful illustrations, and you have an enchanting book to be read and re-read many times. If the other books in the series, of which this is the first, are even half as good, the reader may obtain a library of British Folk Tales which will be a classic collection, for a very modest outlay.
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on 13 July 2014
I read the product description for this book which said it was richly illustrated with hand drawn images and woodcuts. Apart from a small map of Cornwall, there isn't a single image in the book. Very disappointed.
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on 22 August 2011
As a novice storyteller myself I bought this book hoping to add to my meagre repertoire. I was totally engrossed from the first page to the last, enjoying the preface with its explanation of who and what was true; relishing the 'skeleton tale' of Anthony James and his son on their journey around Cornwall in the early nineteenth century; and absorbing the tales which dress that skeleton. Mike O'Connor has achieved a literary masterpiece for the oral tradition.
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on 29 May 2013
I am of direct Cornish descent and am very proud of my heritage. This book is astoundingly good, with lovely tales from different parts of Cornwall.
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on 12 December 2013
well worth the buy good read enjoyable well worth th cost and an interesting book to read. would recomend to people
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on 2 July 2011
It is clear that Mr O'Connor loves his subject, Cornish Tales, and knows it very well indeed. Some of the stories contained in the book were familiar to this reviewer, others came as a lovely surprise. Readers who are familiar with Mike's work as a teller will no doubt hear his voice in their heads as they read this book.
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