'Elidor' is one of my favourite children's books. Full stop. When I was about ten years old I read it and then the TV show was on the BBC, which back then was just fantastic. My best friend and I enacted sword swinging on the stairs.

Like Susan Cooper, Alan Garner has a quite extraordinary ability to bring a sense of magic, wonder and dread to the very ordinary. His sentences are always sharp, clear but are powerful in providing the reader with vivid images and feelings about his settings. In 'Elidor' we are in the rubbles of Manchester in the 1970s. Somehow he manages to bring this to life with minimal description. The plot doesn't matter, really. It's the atmosphere Garner evokes: dreamlike, foreboding and crackling with energy. There are moments that made my skin crawl and images that have stuck with me ever since. Seeing shadows on the wall or looking through your letterbox will never be the same again.

Also like Cooper, Garner's book should be in every bookshop, library and school. He is a master of his craft and I don't know how he quite does it!

© 2020 by Chris Soul. 

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