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thebookcoop

thebookcoop

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The Tale of Genji
Murasaki Shikibu, Royall Tyler
She Rises
Kate Worsley
The Hidden Roads: A Memoir of Childhood - Kevin Crossley-Holland 4.5


He is the author of the Arthur trilogy + one beginning with The Seeing Stone which I recommend very much.

I don't usually read memoirs but as Kevin Crossley-Holland is one of my favourite authors I couldn't help but pick this one up.

He lead a happy childhood. It is not the usual woe-is-me memoir I'm more used to hearing about. He suffered no unhappiness or abuse, he grew up in a rather normal middle class family. His childhood took part mainly in the 1950's near the Chiltern Hills - a place of natural beauty in South East.

His memories go back and forth through his childhood - moving slowly forward and then sometimes backtracking, looking further in the future and then coming back to the original memory. It is rather an exploration of his childhood to find how it made him who he is - the hidden roads we each have within us.

What is so lovely about this book is Crossley-Holland's writing. As with the fictional books by him I have read - mostly for children - the chapters are short and the writing almost poetic.

I have always liked his style - he is a dreamer - someone who appreciates old things, the history of things and he is quite old fashioned, despite being a modern day author. I feel incredibly at peace with him and more so when reading this book.

I find it interesting he has written a memoir. Most of his books are written for children or young adults. So I wonder who will read his memoir other then adults who enjoy reading his books.

He translated anglo-saxon poems, letters and laws which you can find in The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology which also includes his acclaimed translation of Beowulf. He has also translated and retold a collection of Norse Myths.

And he is also a poet, but as of yet I have not read any of those although I do wish to.

It is just that his memoir is nothing what you might call special - but it is wonderfully written and still very enjoyable and interesting to read. Someone who perhaps isn't familiar with his work might not see the point in reading it though - maybe I'm being presumptuous. I think even if you haven't read anything by him, his memoir is worth a read because it isn't really about him as an author - although it does give you insight to the kind of author he became.

It has certainly made me feel far more appreciative of him as an author and increased my enjoyment of him as an author too.