Book Review: Red Shift by Alan Garner


Red Shift, 1973, is formed from the jagged pieces of three interlinked narratives. It is, by turns, unnerving, distressing and, in parts, oddly romantic. Each narrative’s timeline, though separated by a thousand years, is ‘present’ throughout. Linear ‘tick-tock’ time does not exist, but is interwoven and contemporaneous. Red Shift is an interpretation of time travel, but travel of an inner and psychic form. It makes for a destabilising, unnerving read.

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The Owl Service by Alan Garner


Scratching, scratching… scratching away, gnawing away, through the veneer of class, history, landscape & belonging; through language & myth.

The Owl Service weaves and dismantles; it explores; and exploits adolescence as crucible, chemistry set & melting pot; it touches on sexual frustration; on rumour & myth; it exposes tensions between incomers & native-born; between money & status; and between language & culture.

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Book Review: The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner


“The more I learn, the more I am convinced there are no original stories originality now means the personal coloring of existing themes, and some of the richest ever expressed are in the folklore of Britain. But this very richness makes the finding of a way to any understanding of the imagery and incident impossible without scholarship.” Alan Garner in

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Book Review: The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner


“Everywhere is special, in some way. It was not imperative that I should be born in Cheshire; but it was imperative that I should know my place. That can be achieved only by inheriting one’s childhood landscape, and by growing in it to maturity. It is a subtle matter of owning and of being owned.” from the essay The Edge of the Ceiling in Alan Garner’s The Voice That Thunders (a collection of critical and autobiographical essays

“We have to find parables, we have to tell stories to unriddle the world.” from the essay Achilles in Altjara in The Voice That Thunders

“Garner’s work is where human emotion and mythic resonance, sexuality and geology, modernity and memory and craftsmanship meet and cross-fertilise, any country except Britain would have long ago recognised his importance, and celebrated it with postage stamps and statues and street names.” Philip Pullman

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Book Review: The Beauty Things by Mark Edmonds & Alan Garner

Edmonds, M & Garner, A (2016) The Beauty Things Group VI Press ISBN 978 0 946722 28 0


A creative act of bringing the past into the present.

The Beauty Things is a record of conversations between Mark Edmonds (Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the University of York, who has a particular interest in arts-based approaches to the interpretation of history) and author Alan Garner. Alan Garner draws much of the power of his writing from his sense of place and history, and that of his and his family’s history within that place.

And from objects.

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Book Review: Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham



Packham, C. (2016) Fingers in the Sparkle Jar Ebury Press ISBN976 1 785 03348 3

Chris Packham is a naturalist, nature photographer and author, best known for his television work, in this lyrical and raw memoir, he reveals the life-events that shaped him.

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Book Review: Species of Space & Other Pieces by George Perec


Perec, G. (Penguin Edition 1997 First published 1974) Species of Spaces and other Pieces
Penguin Classics ISBN 978 0 141 44224-2

Georges Perec was a remarkable, virtuoso writer. The author of the highly acclaimed Life: A User’s Manual Perec was a polymath, a novelist, filmmaker, documentalist and essayist. He was a member of the Oulipo group. Many of his works deal with absence, loss, and identity, often through word play.

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Book Review: Love Madness Fishing by Dexter Petley

Love Madness Fishing jacket

Petley, D. (2016) Love Madness Fishing Little Toller Books ISBN 978 1 908213 44 0

An Amazon reader’s pithy review explodes:

“…not so much an emotional roller-coaster as full-blown spleen off a hand-me-down bike. superbly powerful piece of writing. should be on the national curriculum (English teachers take note!)”

Dexter Petley has written something rather special.

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