Treacle Walker

English language

Published Oct. 28, 2021 by HarperCollins Publishers Limited.


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4 stars (5 reviews)

A fusion of myth and folklore, and an exploration of the fluidity of time, vivid storytelling that illuminates an introspective young mind trying to make sense of everything around him.

3 editions

Goodreads Review of Treacle Walker by Alan Garner

3 stars

" Joe lay across the stool, held between the trunks. 'May a body not rest in his bog?' said the man. 'Can't...' 'Can't never did.' '...get.' 'Is that it? Is that the hue and the cry you woke me for?' 'No way. All over. Same.' 'Move the dish cloud and shut you glims.' 'Damn' 'Do it.' 'Bloody' 'Do it.' Joe lifted his patch to his forehead and shut his eyes. 'Are you seeing me?' 'Bloody damn' 'Open a glim.' 'Piss off...' He opened his good eye. 'Are you seeing me?' 'Piss off!' 'Off or on are one to me...' "

I mean I don't think there's any meaningful way to review this book. The entire thing reads like the passage above. I wouldn't say the prose in inaccessible, but rather overly whimsical. Not in a way that can't be understood, but in a way that gives the reader pause. That's …

Short, Dense, Full of Ideas

4 stars

Coo, this one is difficult to review. This my my first Alan Garner novel, and may not have been the best jumping off point. It's been universally praised by critics - usually familiar with his work. It's very short and very dense. Chapters are only a few pages each, and are heavy in a combination of local dialect and allegory. The over-arching approach is mythological, and I found it helpful to let go thinking of this as a traditional narrative novel, and start leaning in to the ideas and the mysteries. Don't rush, take a chapter - look up names, terms, words. I had no idea what a donkey stone was, despite living in a mill-town in Lancashire. I'll be revisiting this one, but not for a while - it needs time to sink in more.

Short and deep

5 stars

It's been a long time since I read anything by Alan Garner, but this book has all the qualities I remember of his writing: a strong sense of rootedness in landscape and mythology; a style as evocative as it is spare; and a lightness of touch that entices into the story's depths.

All of this amounts to a book that feels instantly timeless - at least for those who, like me, grew up reading stories featuring rag and bone men, marbles and catapults.

I suspect this will open out further for me on a re-reading.


  • English literature