Fire and Hemlock

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Fri May 21 17:53:54 EDT 2004


Sort-of related to this thread - I've been rereading Francis Spufford's
interesting book *The Child that Books Built*. In the chapter called 'The
Island', where he's talking about the books he read aged around (I guess)
10-12, he writes:

"As I read I passed to other worlds through every kind of door, and every
kind of halfway space that could work metaphorically as a threshold too: the
curtain of smoke hanging over burning stubble in an August cornfield, an
abandoned church in a Manchester slum."

Pretty clearly the second reference is to Alan Garner's *Elidor*, but could
the first be to *F&H*? Trouble is, a) the F&H picture isn't of a cornfield
(it shows hay bales burning), and b) it was published in 1984, when Spufford
was already 20. On the other hand, he's clearly a bit of a DWJ fan (he talks
about *Eight Days of Luke* later in the same paragraph). Any alternative
theories on what he might be talking about gratefully received!

Charlie

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