THE IMPOSSIBLE PEOPLE: A History Natural and Unnatural of Beings Terrible and Wonderful by Georgess McHargue
Kirkus Star

THE IMPOSSIBLE PEOPLE: A History Natural and Unnatural of Beings Terrible and Wonderful

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The ""human"" counterparts of the Beasts of Never, Giants, Faeries and Little People, populate this who's who of mythological beings which weaves together the fragmentary accounts of their existence and nicely differentiates the various subspecies (e.g. Pixie vs. Elf and Brownie vs. Boggart). A purist, McHargue eschews the modern romanticizations of Faery Godmothers and Tinkerbelle, while ranging widely through Celtic and Germanic folklore, Greek mythology, and medieval demonology, and even dipping into African sources for the nine-buttocked Chemosit. Without taking a definite position, she surveys the natural and unnatural theories of their origins -- memories of displaced pre-Celtic populations, descendants of a common Indo-European tradition, psychical phenomena, and observations of sasquatches, and offers a few suggestions of her own (Grendel and his mother were probably ogres). The practical aspects, such as how to identify a werewolf and retrieve infants stolen by faeries, are not neglected, but it's chiefly a carefully guided tour through the esoteric realms of mermaid and manticore. Naturally impossible, but terribly wonderful.

Pub Date: Feb. 10th, 1971
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston