Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Stone Book Quartet” as Want to Read:
The Stone Book Quartet
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Stone Book Quartet

(The Stone Book Quartet #1-4)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  320 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The four books which make up this volume were first published individually. "As the stories grow into one story, so one's awareness of the emblems and symbols deepens! Garner binds the reader to him and he shows us the author working with language to make his book as his characters worked with stone and iron. Not a word is wasted." - "Times Literary Supplement".

"The Stone
Published (first published 1976)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  320 ratings  ·  49 reviews

Sort order
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, children
There is, in the latest issue of "The Horn Book Magazine", an interview with Elizabeth Wein ("Code Name Verity"), in which she mentions the British author, Alan Garner, as an early influence. It came to me that I had read glowing mentions of his work for quite some time and even had some of his books stashed away with the intent to read them "someday". Rummaging around, I pulled out "The Stone Book Quartet" and decided "someday" had arrived. This is described as a book for children, but I person ...more
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-ya
I have read a lot of books this year, but this may be the most extraordinary. Four novellas, each about a child in a different generation of the same family, at a moment of discovery or grace or insight, intersected by people and words, places and ideas, shapes and histories, resonant with the shared myth of family and craft.

There are people who write spare prose that is sharp and precise and economical; hard-boiled sometimes. Alan Garner's prose is stripped and polished, but the result is beau
Nicholas Whyte
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it

I was a big fan of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen as a child, and Red Shift as a teenager, and enjoyed The Owl Service more recently. Somehow this had passed me by. It’s a set of four novellas, set in the same family across five different generations but in the same place, Garner’s home ground, Alderley Edge in Cheshire; each story is about a turning point in the life of a child, who then turns up as an adult in the next. It’s understated, lyrical, not r
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stone book quartet contains four short novels :

The Stone Book
Granny Reardun
The Aimer Gate
Tom Fobble’s Day

The stories tell four different stories, set in four different times in a rural part of Cheshire, England. The first is set in 1864, and the last in 1941. They all tell a story set in one day in the life of children, all of different generations of the same family.

The first, The Stone Book, is the story of Mary, who is bringing her father his “baggin” or lunch. He is a stone mason, w
Helen (Helena/Nell)
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm giving him a five, although I do have some reservation. But still these are such interesting little books. The quartet of thin paperbacks, with large print (one larger than the other three), could easily have been presented as one book in four sections. It still wouldn't have been very long. The stories are presented as for children but I did find myself wondering what age of child, and what kind of child . . . The large print made them seem for younger children than they could possibly be a ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Stone Book, Granny Reardun, Aimers Gate, and Tom Fobbles Day are short stories that make up The Stone Book Quartet. Together they span a century and offer a glimpse into life in Northern England at various points in history.
The first story begins with Mary in the mid 18th century- her uncle is a weaver and her dad is a stone mason building the huge cathedral in the nearby town.
Joseph, her son, is the titular "Granny Reared 'Un". Realising that there is soon to be no work for stone Masons a
Georgina Bruce
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful, tender, deep-hearted book. The writing fills you with emotion, with a sense of meaning, and connects you to the past. It connects you to the magic in the landscape - stone, metal, wood - and to the intimate processes of ancient crafts. After reading this book, you feel fused to the earth, to the past. You feel part of something. I loved it intensely. Possibly even better than Thursbitch. Perfect writing.
Cooper Renner
May 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Brief, lucid, beautiful novellas following one rural English family through four generations. The depth and affection of Hardy condensed into four 40-page works in which every single word counts. Garner is one of England's very finest writers of the past 50 years.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story, language, land, character and craft. A deep sense of place. A plunging in time. A story of stone and metal and silk and wood, of crafts which call to each of the young people of each novella as they come of age, each connected through the material of their craft fashioned into a piece of the place where a father places a weathercock atop the great church he has built of the yellow-white dimension stone, or the hands of the clock on the chapel, lying at either end of the village - a 'runni ...more
David Manns
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written elegy for a time long gone, The Stone Book Quartet features four interlinked stories, spanning more than a century, about one day in the life of four generations of Garner's family. These are stories of craftsmen, stone cutters, blacksmiths, passing on their knowledge and craft, the secrets of their trades. But they are also stories of change, of a vanishing way of life, of loss and progress.

Set in and around Chorley in Cheshire, where Garner's family has lived for generati
Ruth Brumby
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book has many characteristics that usually appeal to me: simplicity, links to hands on experience, a sense of place. However it did not engage me, because it felt nostalgic rather than having any relevant resonance for now to for the future. It is a very male book, hardly acknowledging the existence of women.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The first story is the best, as it goes well beyond the small town folksy nature of the other stories. These reminded me a lot of some books of Irish tales I read years ago, also of Appalachian stories like those in Pissing in the Snow.
Josie Boyce
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read a heck of a lot of sci fi and fantasy, and these loving turned words and evocations of a long gone past that wasn't really so long ago, could almost be another world, maybe it is. Just lovely stories. real time travel.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book of honed and evocative prose, detailing the importance of craft and making, of generations and layers of age, the passing of time.
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another extraordinary book by Alan Garner. A family history which is universal, touching childhood and old age alike. A celebration of tradition, craft and skill passed down the ages. Wonderful.
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charming collection of 4 short stories, echoing each other gently, with some lovely language too.
Beccy Swanson
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Difficult - very Garner! Wants several goes and a willing imagination but worth it.
Tim Armstrong
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not a wasted word and masterful in every sense.
Supposedly a children's book or books. But really one of the most thought provoking series of books you could read - at any age. Wonderful stuff.
Helen McClory
A spare series of stories of interconnected generations of one family. Lots of very specific language of tooling and working and dialect that passes me by but also adds a sense of something deep embedded.
Oliver Ho
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and melancholic series of stories that are really one story—I love everything about this book. The structure and voices are incredible.
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Vintage Garner.
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There is so much to find in Alan Garner's work. Over and over again he unearths the stones from beneath the hill, turning them over in his hands, smoothing and polishing to make them shine, wearing them away so that they sit comfortably in the hand - an axe - warm, shining, useful.

You can't talk about Alan Garner without talking about the land. Somehow space, place and time always come into it. Each work is just a different iteration, a different facet of the same great work: who we are and wher
Aug 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, 1970s
When I was younger, I loved the Alan Garner books I read because of their exciting stories, fantasy characters and mythic themes, all of which attributes are completely absent from 'The Stone Book Quartet'. Instead, this book tells a simple, quiet story through four vignettes of four generations of a family living in a village outside Manchester and their interactions with the land. While I'm very glad I didn't pick this book up aged nine when I read the rest of his books as I suspect I would ha ...more
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wait, what? How could these be published as separate stories? Each is hardly longer than a picture-book. And they didn't make sense until I read all four and got clues from three to understand each fourth. Listen, I'm well-read, I've read plenty of British children's lit, but got only a very vague sense of what was going on here. Sure the language is musical, but sensible? Enlightening? Dialect that thick needs either a glossary or context clues or at least pix... here there's none of that. Well ...more
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Stone Book Quartet is four related novellas bound together in chronological order. They tell the stories of people in different generations of the same family at moments of vocation or clarity in their lives. Each book is written with such care, there seem to be no spare words.

The presentation of the book suggests that it's for children. Its print is on the large side, and each page has a border. Also, the main character of each story is a child. The themes of vocation to a craft and findin
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Our lives are full of improving books, whether they are recommended by well-meaning friends who want us to share in their pleasure, teachers determined to justify ever-more-implausible "author's intent" from ancient works, or our own desire to seem literary. Most of them leave no mark.

At risk of seeming hypocritical, then, I can't recommend this enough. There is a sense of place, of history, of connection in these stories that I have not found in any other book. That sense would probably have be
Peter Dunn
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been working my way through Alan Garner’s books over the last few weeks and this is the best so far of an excellent bunch. I am always intrigued by the Neolithic and what appealed most to me in the previous Garner book I read (Thursbitch) was the well researched use of actual megalithic stones, and other real geography, to underpin an engaging and dark fantasy and the fact that it did engage was amazing as I rarely like fantasy per se.

Considering the title of this book I was expecting mu
Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been familiar with the name Alan Garner for years but never got round to actually reading him until a couple of weeks ago. I picked this book off the shelves at my local library and I'm very glad I did. It's an excellent piece of work. The writing is superb: uncluttered but magical, and the characters come alive on the page almost instantly. Somehow Garner has tuned in to some 'universal consciousness'. The incidents he decsribes seem common to all of us but also unique to the particular ...more
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Quite why Garner is pigeonholed as a children’s author puzzles me and this work is an example of why. The Stone Book Quartet contains four simple but beautifully crafted episodes tracing Garner’s family in rural Cheshire from the mid 1800s. Deeply felt without ever lapsing into the sentimental, this work shines a rare light on the interconnectedness of a rural village, the subtleties of working with iron and stone, and how the seasons and landscape governed life. You realise how much has changed ...more
Elen Sentier
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
Did not enjoy this. I love some of Alan Garner, my favourites are The Moon of Gomrath followed by the Weirdstone of Brisingamen, but this quartet left me cold.

As ever, Garner writes well but the prose couldn't hold me. I felt no sympathy with the characters and gave up on the series. that doesn't mean it's bad, just that it's very definitely not my stuff, not what I like.

I'd still try more Garner but warily. If it's on Kindle so I can sample it and send it back if I don't enjoy it then it has a
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Gawgon and the Boy
  • Bridle the Wind (Felix Brooke, #2)
  • The Haunting
  • Soonchild
  • Counting Stars
  • Chasers (Being Human, #2)
  • Wormwood Mire (A Stella Montgomery Intrigue, #2)
  • Ten Tales Tall and True
  • Bad Blood (Being Human, #3)
  • A Boy and A Bear in a Boat
  • Bitter Angels
  • Coyote v. Acme
  • The Land of Green Ginger
  • Dr. Mukti and Other Tales of Woe
  • Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance
  • Monsieur Lambert
  • Skallagrigg
  • Beloved Dog
Alan Garner OBE (born 17 October 1934) is an English novelist who is best known for his children's fantasy novels and his retellings of traditional British folk tales. His work is firmly rooted in the landscape, history and folklore of his native county of Cheshire, North West England, being set in the region and making use of the native Cheshire dialect.

Born into a working-class family in Conglet

Other books in the series

The Stone Book Quartet (4 books)
  • The Stone Book
  • Granny Reardun
  • The Aimer Gate
  • Tom Fobble's Day