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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  5,431 ratings  ·  683 reviews
Lud-in-the-Mist - a prosperous country town situated where two rivers meet: the Dawl and the Dapple. The latter, which has its source in the land of Faerie, is a great trial to Lud, which had long rejected anything 'other', preferring to believe only in what is known, what is solid.

Nathaniel Chanticleer is a somewhat dreamy, slightly melancholy man, not one for making wav
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 5th 2018 by Orion Publishing Co (first published 1926)
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Miranda I would say adults, not due to adult situations but rather because the language can be a bit archaic, the book having been written in the 1920s. For i…moreI would say adults, not due to adult situations but rather because the language can be a bit archaic, the book having been written in the 1920s. For instance, it uses the word 'gay' in the sense of 'happy, jolly', which to current generations may seem quite odd. (less)

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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Feb 14, 2009 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 a th ...more
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this mostly because I loved the title and that the residents of Lud must be Luddites! I also observed that Neil Gaiman, a favourite of mine, recommended it very highly.

Written in 1926, Lud-in-the-Mist is old fashioned and encompasses some out of date ideas, but mostly it is a fairy story for adults and it has a lot of charm. The author was obviously well educated and she wrote some very beautiful passages. I very much enjoyed her descriptions of Lud and its surroundings and the clever na
Jan 14, 2009 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. ...more
Hiu Gregg
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Neil Gaiman calls this "a little golden miracle of a book", and I can see why.

The writing is beautiful, the themes thought-provoking, and the book as a whole is just so engrossing and satisfying. It has that old-fashioned classical quality to it, but never feels stuffy (besides the two chapters of info-dumping in the beginning). The characters may not have the depth of those in modern fiction, yet there was enough there to tug at the imagination. It meanders, but never feels like it's drifting o
Olivier Delaye
Neil Gaiman made me do it! Er, for those who don't know, Neil Gaiman touted Lud-in-the-mist as one of the best yet most overlooked Fantasy novels of the twentieth century, and in my humble opinion he slightly, just slightly, oversold it. Sure, it's a beautifully written book, and Fantasy notwithstanding, surprisingly timeless (actually, it's pretty hard to believe it was written in 1926!), but for some reason I found it a bit hard to get into the story and care for any of the characters. I appre ...more
Allison Hurd
Undeniably cute and obviously influential. I feel Gaiman's whimsy and Feist's take on the eeriness of faerie. Short, often acerbic or funny, full of imagination and a fascinating blend of fairy tale, detective novel and quest story, I think everyone who loves fantasy should stop by this book to see some of our roots. However, like so much of important history, while I learned a lot, I am not sure it was the most exciting or kindest thing I've experienced.

CONTENT WARNING: (no actual spoilers, jus
Kate Sherrod
Mar 24, 2013 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
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 12, 2009 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. ...more
Hannah Greendale
2019 Best Books of the Year [#01 of 11]
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 ...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
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I’ve been meaning to read Lud-in-the-Mist for ages and ages, and I don’t know why I didn’t get round to it sooner. It is classic fantasy; more like Lord Dunsany’s work than anything modern, though maybe Patricia McKillip might be a spiritual successor in some ways. The prose is glorious; it just feels warm and vivid, though honey-tinged in colour. I felt, reading it, like I could see the city of Lud; like I knew something of the dreams of its people, even if their daily lives were perhaps a litt ...more
Oliviu Crâznic
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
An exquisite, well-written, fascinating fantasy - unfortunately, a very disappointing ending.
Or, should I say, very disappointing AFTER the ending, as the episode of Master Nathaniel meeting Duke Aubrey and finding the truth about Fairyland should have been the excellent ending of the book.
However, the author decided to write a few chapters more, and the conclusion was not at all fit for the story.
Worth reading, though. Could have been a masterpiece - it is, at the end of the day, just a fine b
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Really lovely! Highly recommended to anyone who loves Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unexpected, charming and witty fairytale meets murder mystery with sinister undertones. Mirrlees’ often florid prose did nothing to draw me into the world at the beginning, but I’m glad I persevered through her paragraph-long sentences to find the heart of this multi-layered story. On the surface, this is an old-fashioned murder mystery set in a fairytale land, which by itself is an engaging story. At the same time, it is also a modern parable about the fear of the unknown and the potential r ...more
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a truly delightful Fantasy read!

I loved the language, the somewhat dated feeling and the weird, yet loveable, characters. The description of country and people is vivid and colourful, the plot has enough fairy mystery and who-done-it elements to make me turn pages.

I all-embracingly enjoyed this feel-good read and I'm glad for my SFFBC group, cause otherwise I would have never picked it up.
Zen Cho
Aug 14, 2009 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
Kristin B. Bodreau
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 7k
It was fine. Inoffensive but not particularly engaging or memorable.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, fairy-tale
"… there is not a single homely thing that, looked at from a certain angle, does not become fairy." -- Endymion Leer

Something is, if not quite rotten, then unsettling in the state of Dorimare, a sleepy and somewhat smug country centred on its main town, Lud-in-the-Mist. Its principal citizen, Nathaniel Chanticleer, is to all intents and purposes a paragon of conformity, adhering to the letter of the law and to centuries-old traditions, but deep down he fears he is not what he tries to be: he wor
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First impression:

This is like a murder mystery set in the Shire with a good portion of British folklore, Child Ballads, and fairy stories thrown in. It's also an allegory - or probably several - and beautifully written - and I'm in love.

Full review:

I think the first thing you need to know about Lud-in-the-Mist is that the book’s own back cover description is misleading.* Yes, Lud-in-the-Mist is the story of a small town grappling with its relations to the mythical land of Faerie, and yes, it is
Aug 08, 2011 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
(Why is Neil Gaiman's name on this too? Can that ego maniac go away forever?)

Anyway, I'm enjoying it, and it's pretty mysterious and interesting so far.
Olga Godim
Nov 16, 2013 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
Jul 10, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lud-in-the-Mist comes highly recommended, first by the situation of its author (Mirlees was an intimate of Woolf and Eliot, and they both praised some of her work) and second by a number of modern authors who claim that it is a forgotten fantasy masterpiece.

Unfortunately, it is merely okay. I realize that many people think it unfair to judge a book by modern standards, but that's exactly the standard that I have for books I read—and there are any number of truly classic novels that can stand up
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 fe
Mar 05, 2012 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
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lud-In-The-Mist has stuck in my mind like soft, dreamy taffy.

It's a perfect example of a book I would have never found without Goodreads. It has it all: pre-Tolkien genre concepts, fantasy that leans more towards the faerie than the fairy, and a comfortingly British cast to follow.

The story is very rote Agatha Christie stuff. Taboo fairy fruit keeps finding its way into the city. People eat the fruit & go slightly batty. Our distinctly British heroes must find out how and why. There's a mysteri
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is a dreary read, a fantasy with no magic at all. Clunky, stupid characters, thin plot, the slowest of pacing, lots of domestic abuse: uncompelling from start until . . . well, if you can finish it (I couldn't), probably until finish. If this was indeed one of Neil Gaiman's inspirations for Stardust , then at least it gets credit for something, but thank goodness that Gaiman came along and added some twinkle his own iteration of an average town bordering fairyland. ...more
Eric Orchard
Sep 28, 2009 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 )
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
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. ...more
May 29, 2016 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. ...more
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/r/Fantasy Discus...: * Reading Through Mists 2 64 Aug 14, 2020 11:45AM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: "Lud-in-the-Mist" by Hope Mirrlees (BR) 38 46 Jul 19, 2019 11:07AM  
Into the Forest: Lud-in-the-Mist - Spoilers 5 21 Jul 14, 2019 09:07PM  
Ballantine Adult ...: Lud-in-the-Mist Discussion 2 17 Jul 06, 2019 06:33AM  
/r/Fantasy Discus...: January 2019: Lud-in-the-Mist 5 45 Jan 30, 2019 07:52PM  
Into the Forest: Lud-in-the-Mist - No Spoilers 9 20 Dec 21, 2018 02:10PM  

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Hope Mirrlees (1887-1978) was a British translator, poet and novelist. She published three novels in her lifetime, Madeleine: One of Love’s Jansenists (1919), The Counterplot (1924) and the fantasy novel Lud-in-the-Mist (1926); three volumes of poetry, including Paris: A Poem (1919), described by the critic Julia Briggs as "modernism's lost masterpiece"; and A Fly in Amber (1962), a biography of t ...more

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