Treacle Walker, by Alan Garner

8th January, 2022

“It was a tune with wings, trampling things, tightened strings, boggarts and bogles and brags on their feet; the man in the oak, sickness and fever, that set in long, lasting sleep the whole great world with the sweetness of sound the bone did play.”

Where to start with this beautiful little book? I’ve loved Alan Garner’s work ever since encountering the (stone-cold classic) The Weirdstone of Brisingamen as a child, but this dense, intensely poetic short story is something else again.

Don’t come expecting a classic plot with orcs and goblins – nor svarts and mara, either. The story is short (and simple?) enough, but suitably mystifying. The ideas seem totally original yet as familiar as fairy tale. The imagery is strange, intoxicating, vivid. A gem – or a glass dobber.

The paperback of The Data Detective is out on 1 February in the US and Canada. Title elsewhere: How To Make The World Add Up.

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