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Treacle Walker is a stunning fusion of myth and folklore and an exploration of the fluidity of time, vivid storytelling that brilliantly illuminates an introspective young mind trying to make sense of everything around him.
‘Ragbone! Ragbone! Any rags! Pots for rags! Donkey stone!’
Joe looked up from his comic and lifted his eye patch. There was a white pony in the yard. It was harnessed to a cart, a flat cart, with a wooden chest on it. A man was sitting at a front corner of the cart, holding the reins. His face was creased. He wore a long coat and a floppy high-crowned hat, with hair straggling beneath, and a leather bag was slung from his shoulder across his hip.
Joe Coppock squints at the world with his lazy eye. He reads his comics, collects birds' eggs and treasures his marbles, particularly his prized dobbers. When Treacle Walker appears off the Cheshire moor one day – a wanderer, a healer – an unlikely friendship is forged and the young boy is introduced to a world he could never have imagined.
Praise for Treacle Walker:
‘Treacle Walker is a circular narrative, made of smaller interlocking circles, with actions and whole paragraphs repeating: in its end is its beginning. This late fiction also works the seam opened up in Garner’s very first novel, inspired by the story handed down to his grandfather about enchanted sleepers under Alderley Edge … Playful, moving and wholly remarkable work … There’s a life’s work inside this little book’ Guardian
‘This is a book about quantum physics as well as ancient lore. Garner has always suggested that there is essentially just one story, and this novel, published in his 87th year, contains all the exuberance and eccentricity, all the deep thought and resounding mythology of his best work. At the end of his life, Philip Roth wrote the extraordinary Nemesis, a book that felt like a conversation between the author and his younger self, an attempt to express in a single novel the concerns of a lifetime. Treacle Walker does something similar, cramming into its 150-odd pages more ideas and imagination than most authors manage in their whole careers’ Observer
‘Remarkable … Garner knots together a whole range of mythological and fairy-story motifs, and tropes from Children’s stories … to create a small universe absolutely charged with meaning … there’s mastery of craft, resonance and deep feeling on every one of these 150 pages.’ Daily Telegraph
Alan Garner was born and still lives in Cheshire, an area which has had a profound effect on his writing and provided the seed of many ideas worked out in his books.
His fourth book, ‘The Owl Service’ brought Alan Garner to everyone’s attention. It won two important literary prizes – The Guardian Award and the Carnegie Medal – and was made into a serial by Granada Television. It has established itself as a classic and Alan Garner as a writer of great distinction.