Monday, 14 January 2013

Snow - thine enemy

I grew foolishly complacent yesterday, having assumed that Hertfordshire had swerved nimbly enough in a southward direction to avoid this year's snowfall, and thus inflict it on Essex.  To my horror, I woke up this morning to see a front garden like a coat of arms with a field of white against which were various confused birds rampant, (if not hopping mad).

One of the happier book jackets
Whenever the Devil's dandruff descends in this manner, I am put in mind of the second (and titular) volume in Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series.  This brilliant pentalogy (put that in your look-up matrix, Blogger spell-check) for less old readers weaves various strands of British mythology and fable into a series of adventures involving the three Drew children, who become involved in an aspect of the eternal battle between darkness and light.  Do not be daunted if this sounds like a perfect recipe for cliche, nor should your curiosity be quenched at birth either by some of the more recent book jackets inflicted upon the books (which would be bland and garish if they were much better) nor the disastrous film which took the name of the series - and the second book in particular - in vain.  Cooper's characterisation, style and - most importantly - deft manipulation of mythic and historical figures and themes, and the way she uses them as the engines of the narratives - make this a very successful, interesting and important series.  Lest you were wondering, it is the unnaturally wild and wet weather featured in this book, summoned by The Baddies (I'm sorry, The Dark Ones) which is my pretext for this reference, although I reserve the right to proselytize these works on any and all occasions.

In the meantime, may I suggest some rarer works of literature appropriate to the current climatic  profile, namely:

Two Snowball Kinsmen
The White Stuff
A Place of Gritter Safety
Ploughers for Algernon

and, of course -

The Elegance of the Sledgehog.

Wrap up warm out there.

1 comment:

  1. Hi David

    I hadn't heard of Susan Cooper until I read your blog this morning. Sounds interesting though and I love the cover (much better than the newer ones I've just seen elsewhere). Sounds like something the kids at school might enjoy too; I'll check her out.