Alan Garner — review essay

Alan Garner is one of the finest fantasy writers for children, though his work goes beyond both that genre and that audience. Michael Newton, in an excellent essay here, reviews First Light, ‘a festschrift of essays, reminiscences, poems and stories dedicated to Garner and his work’ edited by Erica Wagner, and celebrates Garner’s writings.

I first read Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, where the landscape of Cheshire becomes infused with a fantastic drawn from mythology and a local Arthurian folk legend, when I was about eight, and have read and re-read his brilliant novels unceasingly since then. My favourite is probably The Owl Service (aimed, I think, at a young adult audience), which resurrects a myth from the Welsh Mabinogion to transform, terrifyingly, the lives of three young people in present-day Wales. It has a flavour of paranormal romance to it and is compelling and beautiful.

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