[The books in Alan Garner's quartet] are the longest short books I've ever read; and I mean that in their quite exhilarating concision they cover, and carry the delight of eighty years (from c1860 to c1940) in the life of a family in Alan Garner's own corner of the world, Alderly Edge in Cheshire. A succession of grandads, fathers, youths, Josephs and Roberts and Williams, they work in stone and wood and metal. Work, and the mysteries of work, are of supreme importance.
In the first book, The Stone Book, Mary's father is capping the steeple of the new St Philip's Church…. There's an account of working in stone, of the able magic of it, that's echoed in the last book, Tom Fobble's Day,...
(The entire section is 544 words.)