It’s not very often that I am dying to read a certain book. I stack up recommendations in my ‘to be read’ pile and read them in order, but today I’m starting a very special experience.
I’m starting Boneland by Alan Garner. I’ve re-read The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath in preparation, and in the process inadvertently catapulted myself back to my childhood. The Weirdstone was and is by far my favorite book as a child, read even more than The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Colin and Susan were Enid Blyton type characters embedded in a fantasy world and, to this day, I wear a small moonstone charm on my bracelet.
I live in the North of England, only a short drive from Alderley Edge where the Trilogy is set. I begged my parents to take me there, to no avail. As I had my own children who were more interested in finding Middle Earth and Narnia than somewhere that was an actual place and not too far away, Alderley became more famous for footballers and celebrities as they flocked to its expensive houses set in natural beauty.
Later in life, I walked through the forest at the Edge and the story returned to me. I searched out the landmarks in the book, and, several decades after reading it, found that it was still fresh in my mind. Of course, by now I have experiences many similar books and the temptation to draw comparisons presses heavily on my, but somehow I always believed in Fundindelve more, nearby and somewhere beneath my feet. Alderley Edge and neighboring Chelford, with Jodrell Bank adjacent, are lovely places to visit and these days my main reason to keep going back there are rock concerts and the farmers market.
Nevertheless, the Wizards Well, Cadellin and the Morrigan have haunted my dreams, and shaped my life. Many of my interests were sparked early on by fantasy books, awakening a curiosity for the world that went beyond my parents beliefs. My imagination moulded around secret worlds and hidden magic and my sense of good and evil was shaped early on as I identified with Susan.
When I saw that Alan Garner was to write the last in the trilogy, I felt like a child again. The fizz of excitement in my stomach, the anticipation of the turning pages – the thrill of knowing a story. The characters have grown up in a world alongside mine and the weekend is set to be special – I might even take a Sunday drive to Alderley and read Bonelands while sipping tea at the Wizards Well.