Thursbitch by Alan Garner – 20 Books of Summer 2021

Thursbitch cover

Thursbitch by Alan Garner was first published in 2003, I just noticed after I had bought it that my book is a signed copy. I’ve read quite a few of Alan Garner’s books over the years, they’re always a bit strange and this one is stranger than usual. To begin with it was just too weird for my taste but I did end up liking it, and it’s a difficult one to describe.

The setting is 18th century northern England – and contemporary. John Turner is a packman, carrying goods all over the country, anything that needs to be taken elsewhere, and sometimes he’s away from his home in very rural Cheshire for quite a long time with his horses and cart. It’s a time when most people hardly strayed from the neighbourhood that they were born in, so John/Jack is quite cosmopolitan compared with the locals.

I was more interested in the 21st century relationship between Ian and Sal though as they traversed the same hills that Jack had travelled through, albeit 200 years or so later.

This was one of my 20 Books of Summer.

8 thoughts on “Thursbitch by Alan Garner – 20 Books of Summer 2021

  1. I can’t make up my mind about Garner’s books. I ought to like them and yet I’m invariably left feeling disappointed after each one without quite knowing why.

  2. This sounds intriguing. I think the only Alan Garner book I’ve read is Elidor and that was years ago, so I should really try some of his others.

    • Helen,
      Elidor is one that I haven’t read, he has quite a reputation but as can be the case with books that have won awards I’m sometimes left less than enthralled.

  3. I read this not long after it came out but the sense of place and the imagery and atmosphere the author created has stayed with me ever since. It wasn’t the easiest read but I’ve read his children’s books and I’m glad I read this one too.

    • Sulewath,

      I think that others have had a similar experience to you when reading this one. I suspect it depends on how different the atmosphere and landscape is from what you are used to. I live very close to a 5,000 year old stone circle, with Iron Age forts visible in the distance and there are echoes of the people who used to live here all around so the sense of place seemed quite normal to me.

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