Treacle Walker

Alan Garner. 4th Estate Books. (160p) ISBN 9780008477790

Treacle Walker

Treacle Walker

I preordered this the moment I heard that Alan Garner was releasing a new book, his take on mythology in children’s fiction is always wonderfully nuanced and executed.

All the way through this there was the feel of an epic poem or a folk ballad with the prose being so lyrical and flowing and filling all the gaps of thought as I was reading it, it almost begged to be read aloud.

Treacle Walker tells the story of Joe, a boy with a lazy eye, marbles, and a chimney, his meeting with Treacle Walker, his desire to find the cuckoo and the changes this brings to his life.

There are hints of deep and old magics, especially in one of Joe’s dreams, where he dreams of music under the hill, a common theme of the fey in Britain where they will entrance you and lead you astray.

We see Joe and Treacle Walker exchanging objects and get a hint of the magics to come early on in the book and we’re never sure of anyones motives throughout. Full of strange adventures and mystical guides Joe has to navigate ever confusing worlds to realise his destiny.

Unfortunately this was only a novella and finished oh so quickly, but any longer and it wouldn’t have been as pin sharp as it was.

A brilliant book from a wonderful writer.


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The Sea Cloak & Other Stories

Nayrouz Qarmout. Comma Press. (112p) ISBN 9781905583782

The Sea Cloak

The Sea Cloak

I’ve had this collection of short stories on the go for quite a while now as they are a difficult read, not that the words are difficult but the emotions those words stir are hard to process.

Nayrouz writes poetically about situations influenced by her time in Gaza as a young woman, each episode is a beauty to read. Flowing words that entangle you in the situation and emotions that are so expertly shared by her prose.

These situations/episodes describe a world so different from our own, but people who are just the same, and it is this juxtaposition that makes these difficult to process as you are able to feel the desperation, fear, confusion, love, and hope that Nayrouz’s characters are infused with so strongly.

Each story explores a part of the world we hear a lot about but can never really know from a more personal perspective than the news ever can, I loved the feeling of rebellion and hope in ‘The Long Braid’, the depth of history explored in ‘The Anklet of Maioumas’ but all the stories have something to give in understanding a situation so different from our own.

This is one of the reasons that we really need good translated fiction, we need to be able to share and feel the differences in the world where all people are the same but not the circumstances the people are in, this can help us develop an empathic understanding as emotions are universal.

Beautifully translated by Perween Richards for Comma Press.


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Ten Things About Writing

Joanne Harris. September Publishing. (320p) ISBN 9781912836598

Ten Things About Writing

Ten Things About Writing

Following Joanne Harris on Twitter is always worth it, supportive and enthusiastic about writing and the process, and her twitter threads of “Ten Things…” are always refreshing.

So as soon as I saw that she was releasing a collection of her writing tips in a single volume I popped it onto my #TBR.

My original idea was just to have this by my computer and read it bit by bit as I worked, getting inspiration or support from it when I needed it.

This is still going to happen and it now does have pride of place by the monitor, but I couldn’t resist reading it from start to finish in a couple of days as the collection of tips and information was moreish.

One was never enough as each led onto another naturally and before I knew it half the book was gone.

Each section is a themed collection of ten different areas about writing with ten hints/tips/ideas and more listed there to help and support writers whatever part of the journey they’re on.

My personal favourites being Permission and Imposter Syndrome since I’m in the foothills of writing right now and I’ll be reading these again, regularly.

A great collection that has made me feel supported and given me more confidence in actually writing rather than wanting to write.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.