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Treacle Walker

de Alan Garner

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaConversas / Menções
3182077,747 (3.35)1 / 35
"Joe Coppock squints at the world with his lazy eye. He reads his comics, collects birds' eggs and treasures his marbles, particularly his prized dobbers. When Treacle Walker appears off the Cheshire moor one day - a wanderer, a healer - an unlikely friendship is forged and the young boy is introduced to a world he could never have imagined."--Publisher.… (mais)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 20 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Perhaps I read with the wrong pair of glasses. ( )
  adrianburke | Sep 7, 2023 |
Shortlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize

Treacle Walker is the first Alan Garner book I have ever picked up. Needless to say, the book being on the Booker shortlist prompted me to give it a try.

The story revolves around a young boy Joseph “Joe” Coppock, who has been unwell and wears a patch on one eye for rectification of his lazy eye. One day he meets a rag-and-bone man by the name of Treacle Walker who also claims to be a healer of all ills save for jealousy. Joe acquires a “donkey stone” and an old chipped pot of ointment called “Poor Man’s Friend” in exchange for an old pair of his pyjamas and a lamb’s shoulder blade. These two mystical objects and his acquaintance with Treacle Walker are just the beginning of a series of fantastical adventures for Joe- from meeting Thin Amren, a bog-man who tells him that his trouble with his eyes is “glamourie” wherein each of his eyes shows him different worlds- one that everyone can see and the other that is not visible to others to characters who jump out of the pages of his favorite comic book, a mirror dimension and much more.

To be honest, I read and re-read portions of the narrative as my initial reading left me a bit baffled. I feel I was unable to comprehend what the story was about in its totality. The concept of time – movement, fluidity and the perception of the present as opposed to what is not obvious- is an overarching theme in this story. I enjoyed the cast of interesting characters, fantastical elements and the dream-like setting of the story but I did face some difficulty in following the native dialect. I understand that some of the words may be rooted in folklore or myth or the author’s imagination but a Glossary would have been helpful. I believe those who have read the author’s previous works would appreciate this novel more than I have. ( )
  srms.reads | Sep 4, 2023 |
Joseph Coppock erwirbt bei einem kutschefahrenden Lumpensammler einen Scheuerstein und ein Töpfchen mit einer unbekannten Paste. Der Lumpensammler Treacle Walker ist schon speziell, aber es folgen noch einige sehr absurde Begegnungen.

Anfangs dachte ich, die Handlung würde in England im 19. oder zu Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts spielen. Der Schauplatz ist ein altes Fachwerkhaus an einem Wäldchen und der Lumpensammler mit der Pferdekutsche unterwegs. Doch dann wird moderne Technik erwähnt, die mich stutzig gemacht hat.

Die Geschichte jedenfalls ist extrem verwirrend. Sogar Protagonist Joe findet Treacle Walker seltsam; weitere seltsame Begegnungen. Das bleibt mir am Schluss ein Trost: dass Joe bei dem ganzen Quatsch ebenfalls den Überblick verliert. Und das, obwohl er selbst nicht die hellste Kerze auf der Torte zu sein scheint. Davon abgesehen bleiben die Figuren seltsam farblos. Wie alt mag Joseph überhaupt sein? Er lebt ganz allein in einem großen Haus.

Da der Autor von Philip Pullman („His Dark Materials“) als „der wichtigste britische Fantasyautor seit Tolkien“ gelobt wurde, hatte ich große Erwartungen. Diese wurden leider enttäuscht.

Obwohl das Buch sehr klein und dünn ist sowie einige Füllseiten zwischen den kurzen Kapiteln aufweist, war es für mich noch zu viel für den anstrengenden Versuch der Geschichte zu folgen und vielleicht doch noch einen Sinn darin zu erkennen. Nach der Hälfte hatte ich das Interesse verloren.

Für dieses Büchlein 20€ zu verlangen (Hardcover mit Schutzumschlag, 160 nur teilweise bedruckte Seiten), empfinde ich als Dreistigkeit.

Fazit: Ich habe keinen Sinn in der Geschichte erkannt, außer reichlich verwirrendem Geplänkel und absurden Ereignissen. ( )
  Wolfbib | Jul 25, 2023 |
This was an ARC I received in exchange for a review. Joseph Coppock is a young man with a small, well defined world: he collects birds eggs for his museum, marbles, and reads comic books. All that changes when he meets Treacle Walker, a rag man, and maybe something more. When Walker lets Joe exchange items for something from his cabinet, Joe's world changes forever. What is the difference betwen sight and seeing? How do we know a dream from reality? Are we a dream that just believes we are real? The book is based on ancient folklore and the belief that magic is everywhere, changing our perspectives and changing our realities, or at least what we perceive them to be. Do we truly live in one dimension, or can we move from one to another. Is time linear or fluid? Garner's writing style is wonderful, lyrical, and just short of poetry. But because of the our modern context and language this book can be difficult to read and even having read it, I'm not sure I really understood everything in it. I took two messages from it: be careful what you ask for, you might get it, and everything changes, with time, with perspective and with our own personal growth. ( )
  Al-G | May 18, 2023 |
Very strange mix of myth and fever dream. Arcane language and slang was tricky but it had something. ( )
  cgleslie | May 13, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 20 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Alan Garner’s novels are usually separated into his wildly successful books aimed at children – The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Elidor, The Owl Service and The Moon of Gomrath – and his adult writing – The Stone Book Quartet, Thursbitch and Strandloper, which are more difficult and quixotic, at least thematically (Garner is always an author of supremely clear and readable prose). I was speaking at an event with Ruth Ozeki and Karen Joy Fowler recently and, having mentioned Garner in my talk, was surprised that neither of them had read – or even heard of – him. They asked me where to begin and I suggested the wonderful, time-collapsing Red Shift, largely because I feel like it contains the best of each of Garner’s worlds: the magic of his children’s fiction and the emotional and philosophical complexity of his adult work.

Garner’s latest novel, Treacle Walker, also belongs in this hybrid space. It, too, is concerned with time. Indeed, it seems as though the subject of time is the theme that underpins much of his later work – how we experience it, how we might refigure or alter our relation to it. “Time is ignorance,” reads the book’s epigraph, from Carlo Rovelli, and the novel is essentially a response to this idea, seeking to ask how we would experience the world if we were able to step out of the straitjacket of time. Garner lives in a medieval medicine house on a site that has been inhabited for 10,000 years and is a stone’s throw from the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire. It should perhaps not surprise us that, again, he takes time as his subject.

Joe, our hero, is a child living a strange and circumscribed existence. He has been poorly, he says, and wears a patch to correct a lazy eye. His parents are not in evidence, and he measures out the days by watching the passing of Noony, the train, through the valley below. One day a rag-and-bone man appears, named Treacle Walker, and offers Joe a cup and a stone in exchange for an old pair of pyjamas and a lamb’s shoulder bone. The cup has Joe’s name written upon it, the stone is inscribed with the picture of a horse. This is classic Garner territory: obscure but resonant objects, a present that feels wedded to a mythical past, a questioning child seeking to unravel the mysteries of an off-kilter world, a landscape freighted with meaning.

Joe wanders out into the marshy wood behind his house where he meets Thin Amren, a naked man with copper-brown skin and a hood made of leather. This bog-man informs Joe that his lazy eye is the result of “the glamourie” – a gift that enables him to see time collapsed, to perceive the eternal in the now. Joe’s adventures see him drawn into the mirror-world of a comic book, fighting alongside “Kit the Ancient Brit” against “Whizzy Wizard and the Brit Bashers”. He’s aided in these battles by the visits of the genial Treacle Walker, with his “green violet” eyes and face at once old and young, like “them knacky postcards that change when you look”.

The riotous energy of seemingly throwaway comics is shown to be in communion with the power of myth and both express truths found in the most cutting-edge science. This is a book about quantum physics as well as ancient lore. Garner has always suggested that there is essentially just one story, and this novel, published in his 87th year, contains all the exuberance and eccentricity, all the deep thought and resounding mythology of his best work. At the end of his life, Philip Roth wrote the extraordinary Nemesis, a book that felt like a conversation between the author and his younger self, an attempt to express in a single novel the concerns of a lifetime. Treacle Walker does something similar, cramming into its 150-odd pages more ideas and imagination than most authors manage in their whole careers.
adicionado por kleh | editarThe Observer, Alex Preston (Nov 1, 2021)
No writer’s body of work is more densely connected yet sparely wrought than Alan Garner’s – connected not just to himself and the land, through stories of a long-rooted Cheshire family who “knew their place”, but to myth and folklore, flowing through the children’s fantasies that made his name. In the 1970s, Red Shift and The Stone Book Quartet were boundary markers between his children’s and adult books (though Garner wouldn’t recognise a distinction). Over the following decades he honed his clipped, enigmatic style, and, with the exception of Strandloper, a foray into Indigenous Australian dreamtime, stayed in the environs of his beloved Alderley Edge, digging and deepening. In 2012, half a century after the first two volumes, Boneland was an unexpected conclusion to his Weirdstone trilogy; the source material transfigured into an adult novel about loss, pain, knowledge and madness that reached not only across the chasm of a human lifetime, but back millennia into the stone age. Garner is now 87; in 2018, a fragmentary memoir, Where Shall We Run to?, conjured his early years with an extraordinary immediacy, as though stepping again into the river of childhood.

Few people expected another novel – and yet, like all his books, Treacle Walker feels as inevitable as it does surprising. Garner’s work has always been hard to classify, here more than ever: this tiny fable, hewn from elements of children’s story, myth, alchemical texts, old rhymes and cartoons, has an implacable directness, as though still channelling the childlike viewpoint of his memoir.

Joe Coppock, a convalescent boy, is alone in the house when Treacle Walker comes calling. We have heard his cry before, in Where Shall We Run to?, when the rag and bone man passes by: “Ragbone! Ragbone! Any rags? Pots for rags! Donkey stone!” Garner heard it from his childhood sickroom, after the illnesses that nearly killed him. But now the donkey stone – a scouring block used to shine the front steps – becomes a talismanic object in a fairytale exchange, along with an empty medicine pot, which helps Joe to realise his visionary potential.

Though Joe at first considers him “daft as a brush”, and smelly to boot, Treacle Walker – who comes to the threshold again and again, in fairytale fashion, waiting to be invited in – is a mythic figure, whose wanderings help to keep the world turning. (As ever with Garner, the mythic and universal are birthed from the specific and local: a friend of his, writing in the 2016 festschrift First Light, remembers their discussion of one Walker Treacle, “the healer tramp from Holywell Green, who could cure anything but jealousy”.) And Joe’s lazy eye, for which he must wear a patch, is a signifier of “the glamourie”. When his good eye is uncovered, he can see past surface reality and speak to the mummified iron age man Thin Amren, who sits up out of the bog near Joe’s house telling him to: “Move the dish clout and shut your glims.”

The danger in this book comes from the comic that taught Garner to read, his childhood favourite Stonehenge Kit the Ancient Brit, “who was always fighting Whizzy the Wicked Wizard and his chums the Brit Bashers”. It’s a risky strategy, but Garner summons an ominous power from the jaunty font that the characters’ easy-reading threats are rendered in – “BIFF HIM FOR THAT BRICK AND POT HE’S GOT” – as they burst right out of the page. If Boneland was an adult reckoning with the material behind The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath, Treacle Walker reads like a feverish companion to Elidor: a visionary boy, a spare, dreamlike landscape, forces of darkness banging against the porch, the half-heard sound of distant music. In that novel, fairytale treasures become a broken teacup or a bit of iron railing. The totems of Garner’s later work are usually geologically enduring: flint or stone. Here they are child-sized and humbly human – a marble, a tiny Victorian pot – but no less powerful for that.

Alan Garner.
Alan Garner. Photograph: Fabio De Paola/Shutterstock
Along with these artefacts, Garner also excavates the argot of a 1940s Cheshire boyhood. It’s a plain language, but scattered with idiom and slang; Joe’s optician says “shufti” and “ticketyboo”, “wonky” and “squiffy”. Thin Amren is brusquely colloquial: “I’d not trust that one’s arse with a fart.” Treacle Walker, meanwhile, speaks in riddles peppered with nonsense, delighting in codes and puzzles and the mouthfeel of each vanished word: scapulimancer, whirligig, hurlothrumbo. His airy rhetoric is often punctured by matter-of-fact Joe; the chimney, Treacle declares, is a liminal space – the way between “the Earth, the heavens and the sapient stars”. “It’s to let smoke out,” says Joe.

As a child confined to bed, finding a world in the ceiling above him, Garner “played with time as if it were chewing gum … I had to”. All his work is fascinated by the inner time of dream and vision, as well as deep geological time and the eternal present of myth, but Boneland explored scientific reasoning behind “the impossibility of now”. In Treacle Walker, discussions of subatomic particles give way to koans. The epigraph is taken from theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli: “Time is ignorance.” Rovelli believes that it’s a mistake to pursue our sense of time in physics alone – that it’s linked to human brain structure. Or as Garner has it here: “What’s out is in. What’s in is out.”

Treacle Walker is a circular narrative, made of smaller interlocking circles, with actions and whole paragraphs repeating: in its end is its beginning. This late fiction also works the seam opened up in Garner’s very first novel, inspired by the story handed down to his grandfather about enchanted sleepers under Alderley Edge. Garner has always been explicit about the moment of rupture that kickstarted his imagination: alienation by academic opportunity from his family’s deep oral culture. Loss and abandonment permeate his writing, from the horn Colin hears at the end of The Moon of Gomrath, “so beautiful that he never found rest again”, to the snatch of train station graffiti that inspired Red Shift: “not really now not anymore”. In Treacle Walker, Joe wakes from a dream of music under the hill to be left with “Nothing. No one. Only loss.” Yet this playful, moving and wholly remarkable work is also about being found, as Treacle Walker finds Joe – and as Joe finds his difficult destiny. There’s a life’s work inside this little book.
adicionado por kleh | editarThe Guardian, Justine Jordan (Oct 30, 2021)
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Il tempo è ignoranza

Time is ignorance

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'Ragbone! Ragbone! Any rags! Pots for rags! Donkey stone!'
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"Joe Coppock squints at the world with his lazy eye. He reads his comics, collects birds' eggs and treasures his marbles, particularly his prized dobbers. When Treacle Walker appears off the Cheshire moor one day - a wanderer, a healer - an unlikely friendship is forged and the young boy is introduced to a world he could never have imagined."--Publisher.

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