(Free E–pub) [Kingdoms of Elfin] By Sylvia Townsend Warner
In 2006 while I was reading The
Ladies Of Grace Adieu I Happened To of Grace Adieu I happened to Susanna Clarke s husband through a mutual friend And I said to him how for all the fantasy I d read I d never encountered anything uite like hers was he aware of much that had influenced her or came anywhere near it And he recommended this book which of course I then sought out But the time frame here might clue you in that I didn t devour it like I did Clarke s too few books I can certainly see a glancing resemblance in
THIS RATHER CHILL VISION OF THE GOOD FOLK WHO rather chill vision of the good folk who times suggest 18th century courtiers taken to their illogical conclusion creatures at once fickle and fixated beset by baffling social restrictions only the low born amongst them fly callous gossips among whom ossessing a soul seems the grossest trespass And Warner has a waspish wit and a black humour which keep these curious tales like fables without morals ticking along nicely But from great Broceliande to the Summer Break (Gods at Eighteen 3) parochial kingdom of Catmere there s too much 11 substitution of the appurtenances of mortal aristocracy not a one of these elfin lands has the grand strangeness and darkower of Clarke s Lost Hope A collection of wickedly witty stories about an imagined world of Elfin kingdoms though they are all ruled by rather fickle ueens and their kings tend to be in rather Gone Cold precariousositionsAlthough mainly about the Elfin aristocracy there is also a rag tag collection of common elfins changelings werewolves and humans to add a little breadth and depth The locales are mainly northern Europe with the occasional excursion to eastern Europe and the Near East The time is vaguely 13th to 17th century it doesn t really matter to the elfins as they live for hundreds The Black Shriving (Chronicles of the Black Gate possibly thousands of yearsThese aren t jolly gnomes and fairies nor noble elves battling evil goblins the elfins are selfish untrustworthy cruel and unpredictable all beneath a veneer of courtly manners and traditionThe stories read like folktales and like such they often end suddenly leaving you wanting The endings are rarely good ones for therotagonists few coming away unscathed though you can never be uite sure I like this as nothing is guaranteed and you usually can t redict at least I couldn t which way the stories will runFantasy and folklore murder and the macabre wonder and wit brilliant This one took a long long time for me to finish and I have a feeling I ll be ondering it for uite some time to come It wasn t the uality of the writing at fault for my slowness in reading oh noeach of these stories is full of splendid writing at fault for my slowness in reading oh noeach of these stories is full of splendid rose Most of them managed to disturb me in some way Not in an overtly horrifying way like Poe s short stories It s just that the fairies of Sylvia Townsend Warner s Kingdoms of Elfin which should really be ueendoms of Elfin but our benighted language has no such word are socold Cold if beautiful creatures Ice cold Snow cold Diamond cold Not cruel necessarily Justcareless Oblivious Oblivious to each other s or to mortal feelings and to the sufferings they cause the mortals that they abduct or otherwise tamper with on their journeys For some reason Fitzgerald s description of Tom and Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby kept springing to mind They were careless eople Tom and Daisy they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back to their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together and let other eople clean up the mess they had made So with the royalty of the Fairy Courts Most of these Fairy tales are grimly grotesuely comic little tragedies None of them has what you might call a ha. Elfindom is an aristocratic society jealous of its rivileges The ruling classes engage in such The Expected One (Magdalene Line Trilogy, pursuits asatronizing the arts or hunting with the Royal Pack of Werewolves while the lower orders take Betty Fedora Issue One pleasure in conducting brutal raidingarties into the world. Ppy ending I found myself breathing a sigh of relief when Hey Nobody died In some hideous or just really careless way In this one anyway Makes the Fairies of other tales seem ositively shining with benevolence by comparison If you are an aficianado of the modern fairy story A glorious collection of stories reminiscent of Susanna Clarke s The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories and of Mervyn Peake my only experience with his writing being Gormenghast and to some extent The King of Elfland s Daughter and Lud in the MistWarner wrote matter of factly about fantastic things her long lived fairy courtiers are fickle unpleasant often stupid creatures and yet she imbues them with a Off 13 plain tricky charmThe collection is loosely linked story by story Kingdoms from one story are alluded to in the following ones certain characters crop up by mention on a couple of occasions but each of these could be read alone They are strangeicaresue by turns jolly and grim adventurous and dangerous flighty and rather dark There is nothing I d recommend uicker to someone who loved The Ladies of Grace Adieu as I did it s the closest thing I ve found to Clarke s confident otherworldly style I am consistently fascinated by Warner s writing and this one has Amata Means Beloved paid off all my fascination with interest Sylvia Townsend Warner has to be one of my favourite writers I haven t come across fiction that I viscerally loved as much as Kingdoms of Elfin for uite a while I read most of it last night after getting home from work to find the internet not working TalkTalk had decided to cut me off from Brexit coverage and I was grateful for it In fact it s the happiest I ve ever been about an outage I listened to therog rock musical of War of the Worlds on the record layer and delighted in these elegant acidic short stories The obvious comparison is Jonathan Strange Mr Norrell which has a similar subject and wit The writing style however is very different While Susanne Clarke crafts an amusing astiche of fussy early Victorian narration Warner has cool acuity that recalls Saki The stories are linked by recurring characters but disdain the bourgeois superstition of linear time just as their subjects do Warner s fairies aren t as actively nefarious as Clarke s although they exhibit
A Sometimes Shocking Callousness sometimes shocking callousness humans animals and each other The humans aren t much better however and some of the worst fairy behaviour in the book comes of them imitating humans The two introductions to the edition I read weren t hugely enlightening overall but did comment that Warner s approach is rather ethnographic This is certainly the case in The Corner That Held Them a similarly detached narrative about a 14th century convent Throughout both books the characters rotate in and out while incident succeeds incident It s a very decentralised approach to storytelling one that emphasises atmosphere and institutions over individuals That Warner creates such fascinating fiction while defying the conventions of Juice plotting and characterisation really emphasises what a great writer she is Her deft treatment of heavy themes religion inarticular her deadpan humour and her artful way with words set her apart Each of her novels has a very different setting but I gather they all share this striking sensibility Those that I ve read so far have been enchantingBefore I start uoting my favourite hrases it s worth noting that I did not experience Kingdoms of Elfin as a book of short stories As the atmosphere and milieu are so recognisably consistent throughout I read them as a single novel told in nonlinear fashion I li. To torment mortalsThe Kingdoms of Elfin are diverse and widely scattered than is often thought; from the Welsh Elfins who though constitutionally incapable of faith remove mountains and the elegant and witty French Court of Brocéliande where castration almost be. .
Free read ó E-book, or Kindle E-pub ´ Sylvia Townsend Warner.
Ked this than standard short story collections which I rarely find satisfying unless written by Borges I couldn t tell you which story was my favourite as that would be akin to icking a favourite chapter in a novel Considering them separately seems inappropriate as they all
fit together so well Onto some uotes that caught my eyeFor his art Master Blackbone was delighted withtogether so well Onto some uotes that caught my eyeFor his art Master Blackbone was delighted
with assistant who was so uick to learnassistant who was so uick to learn free from rejudice and above all a fairy To employ a fairy was a step up in the world In London ractice every reputable necromancer kept a spiritual appurtenance fairy familiar talking toad airy consultant When he had accumulated the money he would set up in London where there is always room for another marvelOne day in early Spring the ueen was bitten by a mouseThe result was totally unforeseen Exhausted by the cares of sovereignty Balsamine decided to go for a rest cure to Bad Nixenbach the fashionable Elfin health resort The greater art of the court went with her for she did not wish to travel like a nobody Those she discarded remained at Wirre Gedanken with a small staff and on the euivalent of board wagesThe discards were named Ludo Moor Tinkel Nimmerlein and Banian Ludo was her Consort Moor Tinkel and Nimmerlein had been at various times royal Favourites All had Robin Hood proved disappointments and were now middle aged Banian was young and slender and had been chosen to make one of herarty till at the last moment he became a disappointment by coming out in an anxiety rashApart from the element of Felipa piety court life at Broc liande was much the same as in other Kingdoms There were fashions of the moment collecting butterflies determining theitch of birdsongs table turning cat races The Vavasour Macbeth purifying the language building card castles There were expeditions to the coast to watch shipwrecks summericnics in the forest deer hunts with the Royal Pack of WerewolvesIt was of a crawfish souffl that Count Luxus committed his only metaphor It is like eating a cloud he said His cousin Count Brock who had a searching mind replied But unlike a cloud it nourishes The only The Blueprint (English Edition) person at Dreiviertelstein unmoved by Ludla s cooking was ueen Aigle For her meals recurred like sunrise and sunset If a sauce had been curdled a dumplingetrified she would have acknowledged its cometlike apparition without feeling Crisis of the Strauss Divided personally involvedThe reflection of her earrings flitted about the room like butterflies as she nodded in satisfaction Rats are wise animals they know when to move out they are not immune to mortal diseases as fairies are If theestilence came to the very gates of Bourrasue if the dying frantic with The Master Masons of Chartres pain leaped over thealace wall if the dead had to be raked into heaps under their noses no fairy would be a VARSITY ABDL (Age Play, Forced Regression, Enema, Domestic Discipline, Spanking Romance) penny the worse Her court was glad to think this was so but wished there could be a change of subject My vow forbids me to fly Your vow My vow ofoverty chastity and gravity Gravity But you laugh you tell funny stories Gravitational gravity I do not leave the ground And of course that Road House - The Novel perfecthrase which I couldn t help mentioning in an update the sea looking like ships wouldn t melt in its mouth Flicking through the book to choose uotes Gnosis proved challenging given thatractically every Left to Die-a First Hand Account of Life in the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina paragraph merits acknowledgement of its insight amusement strangeness or beauty Kingdoms of Elfin is uite simply brilliantly written throughout In a few deceptively incidental tales the reader sees the shape of aarallel European history of fairies The telling of these tales is evocative and clever full of snide commentary on olitics class romance cookery and much else besides. Comes a vogue to the Kingdom of Zuy in the Low Countries trafficking suppositories and religious icturesSylvia Townsend Warner's richly exuberant imagination combined with the calm recision of her language conjures up a sublunary realm that is entirely convinci. ,