I’ve loved Alan Garner since the Wierdstone of Brisingamen. I love the world he sets all his writing in but this piece is much more than that. The language he uses takes me back to the 1960s in Ashton-Under-Lyne and my grandad and adds another dimension to the subtext. It’s like a snapshot of my childhood framed and presented to me with all the magic and mystery it held. It really pushed the message of the book home and reminded me of how much of the world really goes on without us seeing it.
The objects that are presented to us in this story are familiar to me, but might not be familiar to others. Donkey stones and dobbers were a huge part of my early life. I can still picture the Rag ‘n’ Bone man on my grandad’s close with his horse and cart. And Grandad running after the horse for manure for his roses!
It made me wonder if, for younger readers, these words would be as unfamiliar as Garner’s ‘made up’ words that feature in the story – and in turn, where the age boundary is.
This story is all about time. It’s about what we can control, what we choose, wither knowingly or unknowingly, what we see and don’t see, and how unstoppable our fate is. It seemed that Garner took us beyond the magic veil and asked us to think about our own lives and what is real.
I need to read it again, but I felt a deep sense of returning to Garner’s storytelling and how he manages to show us another perspective.
I genuinely loved this and it will join Garner’s previous works on my bookshelf.