Post by Craig Herbertson on Jun 29, 2011 8:54:53 GMT
From the Nosferatu collection comes 'The Curse of the Wise Woman' one of the more prosaic fantasy novels by Dunsany. Set in his native Ireland, it gives us the memoirs of Charles James Peridore, a landowner's son. Originally published in in 1933, here it comes in a 'Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult' version from our happy friends Sphere.
Long time since I read Dunsany but after mildly enjoying "Don Rodriguez; Chronicles of Shadow Valley" I was somewhat over-bowled by this wonderful book. I have to say that its perfect - carefully plotted, beautiful prose, wonderful characterisation, elegant use of symbolism, wonderful, wonderful imagery and detailed descriptions of the sporting life which thrill the heart. This is literature but only in the sense that you won't know its literature because you are enjoying it. Something I rarely say about 'literature'.
I would make one proviso - I think its a book for romanticly minded older folks as a large part of its theme is loss which is arguably more accessible to those who have experienced more loss. If you want blood and guts, instantiety or explicit things this is not for you.
Certain themes are interwoven throughout the story and the supernatural seems to be a kind of source from which religion and politics and wider themes are carefully drawn. Dunsany was a Unionist but he manages to give an utterly impartial viewpoint and also a deep insight into the 'other' views.
It's a very simple story, easily read and apparently not much to it. I won't offer the plot, which would seem to be summarised in the title. There's not much to it. But I would say just read it if you are over thirty. It's a beauty. If you're younger wait a bit. It's not that you won't appreciate it, you'll just appreciate it more later.
Post by Craig Herbertson on Jun 29, 2011 15:46:15 GMT
It bowled me over. It's not really like the stories of elfland - instead the spiritual side is bound up with the old Irish mythology. It's quite straight in a way but the other world is in there - its beautifully told.