Alan Garner Naomi Lewis - Essay

Naomi Lewis

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Elidor is the third long novel by a writer much involved with the meeting of ancient world and new: this, if the least wildly poetic, is also the most skilful of the three. It is ambitiously imagined and worked out with a hard economical tension: the reader is kept—except for some dazzling visionary moments—well on the present-day human side of the arena. It is, you might say, a reanimation of the Roland/Burd-Ellen legend in a modern industrial setting. There are cracks where the fabric of time and place is weak—and a Manchester bomb-site with a ruined church, already on the eve of demolition, is such a one…. The climax, a peak after chapters of mounting terror, is brilliant. The threads of myth make a nice unravelling. (pp. 748-49)

Naomi Lewis, "Other World," in New Statesman (© 1965 The Statesman & Nation Publishing Co. Ltd.), Vol. LXX, No. 1809, November 12, 1965, pp. 748-49.∗

[It] is clear that The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath have created for the author a reputation which will take a lot of keeping up. It will not be kept up by such hastily germinated hybrids as Elidor in which four Manchester children "break through" into a benighted kingdom in which, it seems, "light" can be restored only through their agency as the chosen. The individual incidents are exciting and stimulating but the balance of elements is less certain than before. One feels not only that the magic is too thinly and too...

(The entire section is 638 words.)