“The Stone Book Quartet” by Alan Garner (1983, Collins)
Previously published as four books, (“The Stone Book”, “Granny Reardun”, “The Aimer Gate” and “Tom Fobble’s Day” 1976-78).
Alan Garner uses language like a poet. Therefore, when reading his work you have to pay attention, as he employs words and phrases unusual to many of us in these modern times. Our ignorance of so many of these words is evidence, if needed, of the devolution of the English language that has occurred over the past few decades (Nineteen Eighty Four coming to pass indeed). His books deserve to be read, they are extremely rewarding, and should not be lumped with “children’s books” (Garner has had to cope with this pigeonholing ever since his first novel).
The Stone Book Quartet tells a story within each of four generations of Garner’s own family of stonemasons and smiths, beginning with his own great grandmother discovering, as a girl, hidden cave paintings in the Cheshire countryside, and ending during World War 2 with a fictionalised account of Garner’s own childhood.
Picturesque and essential, The Stone Book Quartet is an unforgettable read. 5/5
(read also, “Elidor”, “The Weirdstone of Brisingamen”, “The Moon of Gomrath”, “The Owl Service” and “Red Shift”)