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Description - Strandloper by Alan Garner

I sing the eagle. "Bone of the Cloud. The Clashing Rock. The Hard Darkness." It hangs above the grave mound. I sing, dreaming...William Buckley was transported to Australia in 1801. He escaped and lived as an Aborigine for thirty-one years. In this visionary novel, Alan Garner is true to William the Cheshire bricklayer and William the Aboriginal spiritual leader, as William is true to his fate. The result is extraordinary.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781860461613
ISBN-10: 1860461611
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 130mm x 13mm)
Pages: 208
Imprint: The Harvill Press
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 3-Jul-1997
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - Strandloper by Alan Garner

Book Reviews - Strandloper by Alan Garner

UK Kirkus Review » In an innovative stroke, Garner has blended the magical traditions of 18th-century rural England with the Australian Aboriginal traditions of songlines and dreamings. William Buckley is transported as punishment for his part in a fertility ceremony; he endures a horrific sea crossing and vows to return to Het, his true love. But it is years before he will return: dying of thirst in the desert, he is discovered and revered by a group of Aborigines, who treat him as their law-giver and healer. The novel's compelling conclusion highlights the similarities in two cultures that at first glance seem totally dissimilar. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » A strange mix of realistic narrative and incantatory folk materials by Garner (author of a number of YA and children's fantasy novels) results in a work that is likely to leave most readers scratching their heads in bewilderment. Set in the late 18th century, it's the story of William Buckley (a real person, the dust jacket informs us), an English villager who, having performed in a reenactment of an ancient fertility ritual, is arrested, charged with "lewdness and Popery," and transported to a prison camp in "New Holland" (Australia). After escaping, Buckley is taken in by a tribe of Aborigines (who call themselves "the People") and soon thereafter comes to be revered as their hero-god Murrangurk, whose appearance was long ago foretold in the prophetic creation ritual they call "the Dreaming" (at which skill the transformed Buckley proves almost preternaturally adept). Eventually spotted by white colonialists, Buckley/Murrangurk/Strandloper (this last term denoting a further incarnation) is employed as a translator and given a "King's Pardon," then returns to his Cheshire home for the mixed blessing of a hesitant reunion with the woman he formerly loved, who may have borne his child. All of this is related in a crabbed, terse prose compounded of rustic British slang, Miltonic verse, folk songs and nursery rhymes, and the ornate language of both Church of England rituals and the Latin Mass. It's often very beautiful, especially when describing tenets of the Aborigines' faith ("In the Beginning, when the waters parted, and the Ancestors dreamed all that is, and woke the life that slept, the sky lay on the earth, and the sun could not move, until the Magpie lifted the earth with a stick"). Too often, though, this severely gnomic fiction scorns to render scene or incident clearly, leaving even the most willing reader unsure of what's happening on any given page. This may be a marvelous novel. It's hard to tell. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Alan Garner

Alan Garner was born in Congleton, Cheshire, in 1934 and grew up in Alderly Edge, where his father's family had lived for more than three hundred years. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and at Magdelen College, Oxford, after which he began writing his first novel, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, at the age of twenty-two. He is renowned as one of Britain's outstanding writers for young adults and has won many prizes for his writing. In 2001 he was awarded the OBE for services to literature.

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