Something has happened to Alan Garner. He is never a predictable writer, and one can never be sure just what he will produce next. But one thing has so far been common to all his work: It has been emotionally overcharged. (With the exception, I hasten to say, of his nativity play, Holly from the Bongs, all too little known, and a gem.)
To put it in crude critical shorthand, Garner's work has so far lacked balance. One always felt the tremble of incipient hysteria: all those dark elemental forces about to break out and swamp one in their destructive power. And usually they did so at some point in each book….
[I've] noticed before that Garner has the knack of confounding his...
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