Geranium Cat’s Bookshelf: Thursbitch by Alan Garner

Thursbitch feels very much like a sequel to Red Shift to me, although the only connection is the intensity of its sense of place, and a setting geographically close, since Garner likes to write about the area around his home. It starts with a real story (just as Weirdstone began with a local legend): in 1755 salt-trader John Turner was found dead by the roadside after a heavy storm, and by his body was the print of a woman’s shoe. That he should have died so close to home, on a road he knew intimately, intrigued Garner, who began to tease out the reasons why his death might have occurred. His own explorations of a landscape that he had recently identified as being a possible site of the Green Chapel where Sir Gawain sought the Green Knight one legendary Christmas suggested a significance to the Christmas death of John Turner, and Garner’s packman, traveller of the Cheshire drove-roads, is a shaman, one of the last initiates of the rites of the Bull god. Pagan custom and legend are inscribed across the wild areas of Britain, evident to the walker today, and it’s not impossible to believe that there were secluded valleys where Christianity had never really caught on. And the coming of the Christian faith to Thursbitch is a painful transition, borne of grief, a contrast to the natural easiness of the bull rites.

via Geranium Cat’s Bookshelf: Thursbitch by Alan Garner.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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