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Lud In The Mist

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,804 Ratings  ·  300 Reviews
Since 2000, Mirrlees' work has undergone another resurgence in popularity, marked by new editions of her poetry. Between the mountains and the sea; between the sea and fairyland lay the Free State of Dorimare. But no Luddite ever had any truck with fairies or fairyland. Bad business. In the spring the Seneschal of Dorimare had his first real anxiety. It concerned his only ...more
Published July 1st 2002 by Borgo Press (first published 1926)
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Mar 02, 2009 Sandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2009
30-odd years before Tolkein published “The Lord of the Rings”, a British woman named Hope Mirrlees wrote a fantasy called “Lud-in-the-Mist”. Neil Gaiman wrote an introduction to the edition I read and I can see that he meant every word. His own “Stardust” draws very heavily on “Lud-in-the-Mist”, especially in setting and tone. Other recent novels that are reminiscent of “Lud-in-the-Mist” are “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” by Susannah Clarke and “Little, Big” by John Crowley. They all share ...more
Jan 16, 2009 reed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neil Gaiman raved about this book, so I read it. I wish I could have read it without knowing anything about it -- but I still liked it. It was written in the 1920's -- before fantasy tropes were so set in stone -- so it goes in directions you don't expect it to. Also, it's as though the author never heard of the idea that fantasy is a juvenile and disreputable genre, so she takes herself and her book seriously and uses fantasy to explore real and important ideas.
Kate Sherrod
May 12, 2015 Kate Sherrod rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of course, I come to this novel via Tim Powers, who quoted it quite tantalizingly and memorably in Last Call as one to which Scott Crane and his late wife often referred in their intimate shorthand with one another. At one point Susan's ghost, or at least the chthonic spirt-of-alcohol that is impersonating Susan refers to "a blackish canary" ("canary" as in the sense of "a shade of yellow" rather than that of the bird of that name) as a way of commenting on Scott's refusal to grasp what is reall ...more
Jenna St Hilaire
This is a tale of the relationship between Fairyland and ordinary life, which puts it at the heart of my favorite storytelling traditions. Born during the late lifetime of fellow countryman George MacDonald (relevant works: Phantastes, Lilith), and just thirteen years younger than G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy), Mirrlees seems to write under the guidance of the same muse that led them. It wouldn't surprise me if she were directly influenced by either one or both; nor would it surprise me if, like b ...more
I don't think I'm well-read enough to review this book -- as is the case with many British writers of that period, Mirrlees is far better classically educated than I am, and I'm sure I missed quite a few of her references. However, I now firmly agree with Neil Gaiman that this is "the single most beautiful, solid, unearthly, and unjustifiably forgotten novel of the twentieth century" so I felt I should attempt to review it here in the hopes that I get a few more people to seek it out.

This is mos
Randolph Carter
Jun 14, 2016 Randolph Carter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, owned
I'm not a big fan of this sort of fantasy. It's a good read as this thing goes, just not my kind of stuff. Whimsical fairy tale with a bit of a grim side to it that is hard to categorize. Probably a bit of an influence on authors like Neil Gaiman. Nod and a wink kind of stuff that is charming and sly at the same time.
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 19, 2010 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The people of Lud were...well, "Luddites". This book I read long ago and it is by turns very sad, very funny, and always mind tickling. This is one of those..if you can find it, "must reads" of fantasy. Of course some will disagree with me...but I'd say if you get the chance, read it.
Eric Orchard
Jul 11, 2010 Eric Orchard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All fans of Faerie fantasies.
Recommended to Eric by: Neil Gaiman ( through blurbs and interviews )
I can't believe it took me so long to read this! It's a classic fantasy novel, totally essential to anyone who loves this type of book. After reading this book, it seems that there's a whole tradition of literature descended directly from this story. Unlike Tolkien ( who I love ) this is a more modern take on folklore and human nature but at the same time it reaches back far into primal things. I can really see where writers like Neil Gaiman and Suzanne Clarke are coming from.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
An obscure fantasy classic, if that isn’t too much of an oxymoron. This little gem was first published in 1926, then re-released in 2005 with a beautiful cover (and too many typos – I have no patience for publishers milking a dead author’s work without bothering to copyedit, even if they do have great cover artists).

Lud-in-the-Mist is set in a fictional land reminiscent of pre-industrial England; it feels like a precursor to Tolkien’s Shire. Of all the modern fantasy I’ve read, the book that fee
Olga Godim
Dec 04, 2013 Olga Godim added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of good old English
Shelves: did-not-finish
I’ve been thinking: why couldn’t I finish this book, why did I get so bored? Now I know – because I couldn’t care for any of the characters. None was sympathetic. None inspired me to like him or her, even a little bit. In that, this book resembled a satire, but it wasn’t sufficiently funny either. It also read like a huge metaphor, but I didn’t like what I was seeing in it. Too close to home, I suppose.
And it was too slow. I stopped reading on page 85, when still nothing happened, just lots of t
Zen Cho
Aug 14, 2009 Zen Cho rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
ahhhh this rocked!!! It's funny how this mostly takes place in the Real World (as opposed to Fairyland) and Neil Gaiman's Stardust mostly takes place in Fairyland (not the Real World), and yet there is more magic in a single serif on any letter of any word on any page of Lud-in-the-Mist than there is in the ENTIRE BOOK of Stardust.

I should note that its handling of race is weird -- Tolkien-style "all the non-white people are from somewhere else". Indigo people appear to be the world's analogue f
Nov 22, 2014 Evelina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is full of parables that you can feel the essence of, but never quite get with your conscious mind. But same as how in the book it's told that the characters understood certain things not with their mind but somehow differently, you understand it as well, without really understanding it. It's like remembering a dream after waking up - somehow it all makes sense, although nothing really does, and things can't be arranged in order at all, happening simultaneously but at the same time one ...more
Dec 08, 2015 Tehanu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe this book was written in 1926. It doesn't feel that old.
I have just finished it and I still have some doubts about the events leading towards the end. I might have to think about that for a while.
All in all, it was a really enjoyable read. The kind of read that has all the elements that I love.
Favorite? Perhaps... let it breathe for a while first.
Nazmul Hasan
Dec 24, 2015 Nazmul Hasan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-fantasy
A work of art. Read it. NOW
Sep 04, 2012 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A sweet and simple book that has a lot more to it than meets the eye.

I'm not too high and mighty to admit that I bought this because Neil Gaiman recommended it. He has an undeniably good nose for classics, and his taste is clearly similar to mine, despite all the issues I have with his writing.

Mirrlees writes beautifully, lightly, intelligently, with great vision and simple, evocative prose. She has the subtle skill that I admire so strongly in Diana Wynne Jones of describing a sense, or a thoug
Aug 01, 2014 Cara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of my favorite books. The writing is so masterful - subtle, sly, terrifying, funny, precise. Mirrlees is a prime example of a female genius whose ideas and techniques were appropriated by other (male) writers and overshadowed by the academic "canon."

It's one of those books that literally leaves you open-mouthed by the consistent bad-assedness of its social satire and linguistic invention. One of those books whose enjoyment is only tainted by your realization that the writer had been poorly r
Jan 07, 2012 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fairy tale for adults. Both serious and light, this is a story that works on more than one level. The surface narrative is an intriguing story and mystery that gradually builds tension and is delivered with a pleasant, leisurely prose style. But also the author is trying to say something about society and the meaning of life.

Stylistically, I found echoes of this in Jack Vance's "Lyonesse" books. Certainly I think if you liked one then you'll like the other. But don't read this if you want more
Jul 05, 2011 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lud-in-the-Mist is a bucolic country village on the borders of Faerie. But respectable people don't like to talk about their questionable neighbors. Nathaniel Chanticleer is the mayor of Lud, at least until the influence of Faerie begins to affect his own family.

This is a difficult book to classify -- it's a fantasy, certainly, but with almost no overtly fantastic elements; Faerie remains firmly on the other side of the border. The story itself, once it begins to unfold, resembles a mystery more
Mein Hime
Jul 05, 2015 Mein Hime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a curious thing, this book. I can see quite clearly why it has inspired writers of fantasy and perhaps had the opposite effect on today's readers.

"It is of it's time" seems like a poor way to convey the ingenuity of Hope's approach but it is of it's time. The dreamy, verbose language is sometimes hard to penetrate. I can't help feeling like this book's genius isn't grasped fully on the first read.

It has the feel of a book that rewards indulging the almost off-kilter prose over and over. P
Jul 06, 2016 Igor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neil Gaiman made me read this book - that is, his blurb drew my attention to it. Well, first the lovely white cover of the Gollancz edition did, and *then* Gaiman's blurb.

This really is a sweet, magical and wonderfully strange little book about life on the border between two worlds and also the love a parent can feel for a child and things he will do to protect it.

The plot, the characters and the language have a timeless quality (this is a book that is 90 years old and you wouldn't know it with
Aug 06, 2014 Lydia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of the most beautiful, true fairy-stories I have ever read. I'd put it on a level with At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald, and more recently, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susannah Clarke.
Edward Butler
Aug 23, 2007 Edward Butler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly unique book, unlike any other fantasy novel I have read. Dreamlike, outlandish yet never self-indulgent or uncontrolled. Not to every taste, to be sure, but an indisputable accomplishment.

Tiffany Turrill
Enticed by the promises of a great many favorite writers, I took up Lud-In-The-Mist expecting a change in what female fantasy could be.

The name, the time, the author's story, all attracted me. Despite this, i couldn't manage to lose myself in it.

Essentially, for me, it didn't hold up.
I found the characters shrill and predictable, the bewildered goodies were good, and the baddies just as you found them.
As I read, I had a sense that I was waiting for the literary ah-ha to happen - the plot is
Jun 11, 2013 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I discovered this book on a Flavorwire list that chronicled some under-the-radar fantasy novels. Then I discovered Neal Gaiman's glowing opinion of it, so I decided to check it out.

First of all, it's beautifully written. Mirrlees has a very rich, very English method to her prose. This, coupled with a unabashedly fantastical tale about a quiet town turned upside down by the smuggling of forbidden fairy fruit, makes for a unique literary experience. Lud-in-the-Mist is a town that has been closely
Aug 01, 2013 Jenevieve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books
Read this and all my other reviews at Jena's Book Reviews

Lud-in-the-Mist is a sleep little town nestled between two rivers and between the sea and the hills that lead to Fairyland. Not much happens there and that's just the way the residents like it. Master Nathaniel Chanticleer has been there the whole 50yrs of his life as part of a very respectable and long established family and foresees ending his days there and having his son, Ranulph, take over the family home when he dies. But then Ranulp
D.M. Dutcher
Oct 13, 2012 D.M. Dutcher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, classic
It's a dreamy book, but it's confused in what it wants to be, and in the nature of fairyland.

Nathaniel Chanticleer is a village mayor in the town of Lud-in-the-mist. Lud is on the border between the real world and the fairy one, but the townspeople have prohibited and stigmatized most dealings with fairies to the point of them being used as curse words. But all isn't that well, as Chanticleer is haunted by the sound of a mystical note, and his children might be eating the fairy fruit...

It's a d
Mar 01, 2009 Ryan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The people of Lud-in-the-Mist enjoy their steady, structured lives, and fear the mystical stories of the mischievous Faeries who live in the West, and especially fear the influence of their magical Fairy Fruit, which can supposedly turn the most able-minded citizen who eats it into a poetic, quixotic, and babbling lunatic. When the Mayor of Lud-in-the-Mist, Master Nathaniel Chanticleer, discovers that his own son has eaten this forbidden fairy fruit, he must unravel the mystery of how this contr ...more
Oct 03, 2013 Puna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: logophiles, wordsmiths, dreamers of dreams
Hope Mirrlees’ novel, Lud-in-the-Mist, had me waffling on my star rating throughout its entirety, often within the space of just a few paragraphs. The main problem was that as a story categorized to be of the “fantasy” genre, I had a certain amount of preconceived expectations from the plot, none of which were actualized. I’ve also become used to a certain quality of action in fantasy novels which was severely lacking in Mirrlees’ book. It’s not that there wasn’t any action at all, but more so t ...more
Mary Catelli
A fantasy tale predating The Lord of the Rings by decades. . . .

Lud-In-the-Mists is the capital of Dorimare, a prosperous country that bordered on Fairyland, and once upon a time had been a duchy before they revolted at the last one's caprice and destructiveness. Now it was ruled by a wealthy merchant class and very content they were, having prohibited any dealings with Fairyland at all -- particularly with its fruit, which has a peculiar effect on those who eat it, who are never content after w
A recommendation like "The single most beautiful, solid, unearthly, and unjustifiably forgotten novel of the twentieth century" can be a dangerous thing for a book. It suddenly has to live up to the greatness of a book that doesn't actually exist--the one in our mind. Neil Gaiman certainly means it when he says it, but the book doesn't quite live up to his recommendation. The characters are, often, little more than sketches on the page, and their reactions come off as melodramatic--especially ea ...more
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Hope Mirrlees was a British translator, poet and novelist. She is best known for the 1926 Lud-in-the-Mist, a fantasy novel and influential classic, and for Paris: A Poem, a modernist poem.
More about Hope Mirrlees...

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“A house with old furniture has no need of ghosts to be haunted.” 17 likes
“Reason I know, is only a drug, and, as such, its effects are never permanent. But, like the juice of the poppy, it often gives a temporary relief.” 16 likes
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