Leah's Reviews > Lud-in-the-Mist

Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees
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's review
Sep 04, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read in September, 2012

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 thought, or an experience, that must have occurred to the reader a thousand times, and yet they have never been able to put so succinctly into words. Nathaniel Chanticleer is a dreamer, a worrier, an introspective. His group of friends, and his social inferiors, are all neatly observed and yet given leeway to change. Nothing here is quite as it seems.

And that's as it should be, because this little book asks more questions than it answers, and leaves more doors open than it closes. Mirrlees is outlining deep, philosophical issues and sketching broad social milieux within her safe little town of Lud, and her warm, soft, abundant little country of Dorimare. This, of course, is England, as the Shire was England, as Narnia was England: there is something out there, over the hills, that is abhorrent to Dorimarites, and it approaches, every day its influence seeps a little deeper into the safe, warm life they know. And although neither of those other lands dealt tritely with this inevitable march of progress and future, Mirrlees' answer to the problem is a powerful and breathtaking ending to the book.

Above all this, there is an exciting and entertaining story that kept me hooked and reading far later into the day than I should have been!
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