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First Light: A celebration of Alan Garner

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  10 reviews
For more than 50 years, Alan Garner has enraptured generations of readers with works like The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Owl Service, Red Shift, and The Stone Book Quartet. Described by Philip Pullman as 'the most important British writer of fantasy since Tolkien', Alan Garner has inspired readers and writers alike. Now, in celebration of his 80th birthday, comes First ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 5th 2016 by Unbound
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Peter Dunn
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unbound is a leap of faith as a publication model. You subscribe to help get a book into print as I did but you have no idea if it will be any good. Well actually that’s not quite true in the this case as it’s a collection of essays about the life and work of the well-loved author Alan Garner and it was put together by the talented former literary editor of The Times Erica Wagner so the omens were good, and Wagner does not let us down.

So while it is a blind leap of faith subscribing to such a bo
Alex Sarll
A volume of tributes to Alan Garner, but where with many writers that could become a bit of a vapid love-in, this was never likely to be the case here. There's a recurring sense of Garner as, like his forebears, a craftsman, taking solid substance from the Cheshire landscape and working it into something people can use. If in his case it's words and myths rather than metal or stone, well, he's still very much a son of the soil rather than the ivory towers. Someone who quite naturally ends up fin ...more
May 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had waited over a year for this book so to finally get it might have raised my review rating a little higher than it should possibly get: emphasis on 'little'. The first thing to note is that this is not a purchase for anyone who has yet to read much of Garner's work but it is a wonderful series of reflections on his life, stories and love of the land.

A series of chapters from various people, from writers, physicists, professors of literature, archaeology and poets to name but a few - this co
Gordon MacLellan
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is a slow read...not in any way a hard or reluctant read but one of those books you dip into and return to, savouring it in chapter length delights.
There are so many fascinating entries here, a reflection of Alan Garner's impact upon so many lives: both his writing and his personal generosity of spirit in meeting, talking to and inspiring others
Reading other people's accounts, for me, has me composing my own entry, "what would I say?"..."where would I start?". With a school project as we re
Richard Howard
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
A wonderful series of essays, poems, shirt stories and mini-treatises all in honour of one of our finest writers. There is such a diversity of writers and scientists sharing only the inspiration Alan Garner's books have provided. If you've read his works, then you'll get a lot from these essays both as regards the works themselves and the author. If you haven't... What are you waiting for? ...more
Martin Crookall
Jul 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting range of plaudits and opinions from sources expected and unexpected
Nick Swarbrick
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-crit
Very torn by this overall thoughtful collection of essays, lectures and poems. Where it works for me, it is fascinating, challenging, genuinely enlightening; where it doesn't, I hope it works for others. ...more
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A stunning book. So interesting and eloquent. A must read if you like Alan Garner’s books. A series of short essays about Garner, his life, background, books and interest in legends, myths, folk tales, archeology and the cosmos. Utterly brilliant.
"the landscape is not a book, with chapters layered neatly one upon the other"

A fascinating collection of essay's on Garner's work and life. Highly recommended.
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
For the most part an illuminating collection of essays, poems and other miscellania inspired by Alan Garner. Gregory Maguire's contribution was dreadful, but that was the only low point. ...more
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Erica Wagner is an American author and critic living in London. She is former literary editor of The Times.

She is the author of several books, including a collection of short stories, Gravity, and Ariel’s Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and the Story of Birthday Letters, and the novel Seizure.

Her husband, Francis Gilbert, is author of I’m a Teacher, Get Me Out of Here!. She also reviews regularly

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