27 January, 2008

What'm I Reading?

A review for you, of a recently read book: Arthur; the Seeing Stone.

We went to a meet-the-author event at the Arts Centre late last year to see Kevin Crossley-Holland, and were surprised that JAG was the only person under twenty there, and even more surprised to discover that the author enjoyed in this household for his Arthur books was actually better known for being a poet and Anglo-Saxon scholar. The upshot was that we all enjoyed it ~ including Crossley-Holland, who had the, possibly unexpected, task of making it interesting for a group of adults and one child with varied expectations ~ and it was, for me, a learning experience.

I now know that i enjoy some of Crossley-Holland's poetry; i would like to get his translation of Beowulf and compare it with that of Heaney which Chen and i read and liked; and i was, eventually, stimulated to read this book, the first of the Arthur trilogy, and therefore the rest which will follow for me. I found this a much quicker read than i had expected ~ probably i'd have read it before if i'd realised ~ which was partly facilitated by the style of having a lot of very short (less than two pages, most) chapters, and jumping the action quite quickly (though not usually within the chapter) between the past and the present so that neither ever grows tedious. Arthur-the-narrator, as opposed to Arthur-in-the-stone, is a lovely character; sufficiently precocious to be able to be writing and holding my interest at age thirteen, yet na├»ve enough to be worried about a “devil part” his body is growing, he tells us everything, but he doesn't know everything, so we are both left partly in the dark, as the book progresses. Lovely; it only remains to be seen if Crossley-Holland can keep it up for another three books ~ yes, another “trilogy” with more than the requisite number of books!

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