ELIDOR by Alan Garner


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"The finding is chance. Wasteland and boundaries, places that are neither one thing nor the other, neither here nor there--these are the gates of Elidor." For Roland Watson, Fog Lane, Manchester 20, and his older brothers and sisters, the gate is a gutted church on a demolition site, the "fix" between the two worlds is the music of a blind, lame fiddler who becomes Malebron, King of Elidor. From ancient prophecy, Malebron sees in the children the saviors of Elidor the means to bring light after long darkness. At his insistence--"Think it. Force it with your mind"--Roland imagines the door to the hidden Treasures that hold Elidor's fate, and the four retrieve them; to protect Elidor, they must take the Treasures back with them. The problem thereafter is two-fold: to conceal (and neutralize) the Treasures, which act as electric generators, disrupting television reception and setting off household appliances; to overcome the evil forces from Elidor bent on gaining possession of them and, ultimately, to return them safely to Malebron. Some of this is hilarious--the family facing an evening without TV, the stolid father confronting invisible forces--some is harrowing, but it rarely rises above the level of formula fantasy. The obvious weaknesses are a certain flatness of style and the lack of definition of character, the stillborn aspect of faerieland: we don't know Elidor or the children intimately enough to care what happens to them, nor to regret, in the case of the children, that they are little touched by the sum of their experiences.
Pub Date: April 1st, 1967
ISBN: 0152056246
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Walck
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1967


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