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The Weirdstone of Brisingamen | [Alan Garner]

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen

The Edge is a land of two worlds: above and below. It took me my childhood to learn about above; when I was 19, I went to learn the wonders of below: a world of darkness and silence, so dark that you can see the lights of brain cells discharging; so silent that blood in the veins can be heard.
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Publisher's Summary

About 150 years ago, my great-great-grandfather, Robert Garner, carved the face of an old man with long hair and beard in the rock of a cliff on a hill where my family has lived for at least 400 years, and still does. He carved the face above a well that is much older. How much older, no one knows, but it's centuries older, or even more. And why did he carve it? He carved it to mark that here is the Wizard's Well.

I am Joseph's grandson, and I grew up on that hill, Alderley Edge in Cheshire, aware of its magic and accepting it. I didn't know that it wasn't the same for everyone. I didn't know that not all children played, by day and by night, the year long, on a wooded hill where heroes slept in the ground. Yet there were strange things. Below another ancient well, the Holy Well, a rock lies in a bog. It fell from the cliff above in 1740 and made the Garners' cottage shake. It landed on an old woman and her cow that, for some reason, were standing in the bog, and, as a result, are still there. When I was seven, the bog was dangerous for somebody of my size and I once got stuck in it and thought I was going to drown, even though I sank only to my hips; but I managed to reach the rock and to climb up it to where a fallen tree was lodged, which spanned the bog, and by sliding along the trunk I was able to reach firm land. Nearby, under the leaf mould, is a layer of white clay that we used as soap to wash ourselves before we went home after playing. But there wasn't anything I could do about my clothes, and Grandad was not pleased.

The Edge is a land of two worlds: above and below. It took me my childhood to learn about above; when I was 19, I went to learn the wonders of below: a world of darkness and silence, so dark that you can see the lights of brain cells discharging; so silent that blood in the veins can be heard.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

© Alan Garner; (P)2005 Naxos Audiobooks

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  •  
    Graham MelbourneAustralia 05-21-06
    Graham MelbourneAustralia 05-21-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Overall
    "Highly recommended"

    I originally read and thoroughly enjoyed this book as a child, and was more than pleasantly surprised by this audio version. The narration is clear and engaging, and the story is fast-paced and enthusiastic, just as I remembered. The way in which Garner weaves folklore and a clear love of the local landscape, adds a sense of realism which increased the suspense and sheer enjoyment I felt on listening to this well-told tale. Highly recommended.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Prospect, SA, Australia 05-23-09
    Chris Prospect, SA, Australia 05-23-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "One of the classics of children's fantasy"

    This is one of my favourite books of all time. Philip Madoc reads it beautifully and it translates very well from text to audio. I first read it to my daughter when she was 6 and she loved it. She listened to the audio version recently at the age of 31 - and loved it again! This is a book that is suitable for young readers as well as adults with a sense of magic.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-2 of 2 results
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  • Michael
    Spennymoor, County Durham, United Kingdom
    5/9/08
    Overall
    "A fantastic book superbly narrated."

    The Weirdstone has always been a favourite of mine, so finding it on Audible in unabrdiged form was a treat. I didn't expect too much from Philip Madoc as a narrator, but must say that his delivery and characterisation are superb. The characters come alive, and are are so distinct that the narration fades into the background and a vivid play is performed within ones imagination and Alderley Edge, the Svarts, Colin, Susan, Gowther, Bess, the Dwarves and Cadelin appear before you.

    Throughout the childrens' adventures, you are there with them; in the bog, the caves, and other wonderfully presented dark, evil, scary places and you will find yourself right in the middle of the action with them, as they tackle their final desperate challenge.

    I would recommend this book in written or audible form to anyone!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • WJE Hoppitt
    Cambridge, UK
    7/30/06
    Overall
    "A absolute classic"

    I remember this book fondly from my youth, and the narration does the book justice. Strongly recommended to anyone with a taste for the Tolkein-esque! I just wish the BBC radio play was also available.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Heather
    Isle of ManUnited Kingdom
    4/28/08
    Overall
    "Recommended"

    Didn't read this book as a child, but enjoyed it. Worth getting just to hear Philip Madoc's wonderful voice narrating it, but a good buy in its own right.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Antony
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    4/22/08
    Overall
    "Excellent"

    Highly recommended, eery atmospheric music between the chapters adds a creepy charm, all the characters are well-performed, my favourites being the cautious Fenodyree the dwarf and the earthy tones Gowther Mossock. It's wonderful to hear them brought to life and I finally know how to pronounce Brisingamen!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Konstantina
    GLASGOW, United Kingdom
    4/8/13
    Overall
    "Very well narrated"

    I had this book on audio as a child and very much enjoyed re-listening to it after ten years. It's a good story, very exciting and full of adventure. The narrator is superb. Would recommend this to kids aged over about 8-9 and adults as well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Susan
    St Leonards On Sea, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Brilliant"

    A wonderful story with some memorable characters the good guys Cadellin and Durathror and the baddies the Morrigan and Grimnir, living hidden from the inhabitants of Alderley Edge and unexpectedly stumbled on by two children Colin and Susan. I remember reading this when I was 11 and forty years later it is still full of wonder for me. A childrens book that even an adult can enjoy and sets your feet firmly on the path to discovering new worlds. A magical book with The Moon of Gomrath coming next.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alexandra
    wokingham, berks, United Kingdom
    11/4/10
    Overall
    "philip madoc is marvellous, the book is good too!"

    This book is very enjoyable overall although the writing has weaknesses. The story has a gripping start, a slow middle, and a gripping concluding part, although the actual ending came so suddenly I felt cheated of a final chapter which would have brought everything to a more satisfying conclusion. Philip Madoc is a star reader, and I could not imagine anyone else bringing the story and characters to life as he did for me. He is just marvellous.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sm
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    3/16/10
    Overall
    "A childhood favourite re-visited"

    This book scared and thrilled me as a child and it's great to hear it read so well by Philip Madoc, who manages the accents very convincingly. Alan Garner has a deep knowledge of British myth and folklore and writes wonderful stories where 20th century life becomes entangled with the stuff of legend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Simone
    Orpington, United Kingdom
    8/13/11
    Overall
    "Wish I'd read it as a child"

    Colin and Susan are sent to stay with their mother's nurse in Alderley Edge and while exploring the landscape, as children are wont to do, they become embroiled in an age-old conflict and the adventure begins.

    Alan Garner weaves together myth, folkore and landscape in a wonderful children's tale. Although Garner takes great pains to describe landscape and the feeling it invokes in the characters, the characterisation of the various players in the tale is somewhat absent apart from what we learn from their actions. As the tale is aimed at children, this is not really a drawback as imagination is brought into play and attributes can be allocated to each character as desired.

    As an audio version, and not having read the actual book, I was pleased with the choice of Philip Madoc as narrator. Different voices were employed, as well as accents though these might seem very out of place in modern-day Alderley Edge which has a rather different populace from that of when the book was penned. I found Mr Madoc's voice rather soothing, though he held my attention throughout.

    As an adult I enjoyed the tale, and, had I read it as a youngster I would have relished the book and probably have become a firm favourite.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • P. D. Smith
    Huddersfield, UK
    8/11/08
    Overall
    "A bit disappointing"

    I enjoyed these books when I was a child, so I got this for my daughter to listen to. She didn't enjoy it as much as I thought she might - this was mainly because she found the narration hard to understand sometimes. I think this was because Gowther has a broad accent, and Philip Madoc's voice, while doing the accent well, made it hard to understand for someone not used to similar accents. A different narrator may have made it easier to follow.
    On the other hand, I enjoyed listening to it again, but since my daughter gave up half way through, I was disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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