Friday, June 28, 2019

Lud-in-the-Mist

Most embarrassing cover ever

Lud-in-the-Mist, by Hope Mirrlees

Chris at Calmgrove posted about this very interesting early fantasy book a while back, and I got it on Kindle to read.  Hope Mirrlees wrote just one book, in 1926, and it is excellent and odd.  It's one of those fantasy books written before the genre gelled into particular templates, and so it still reads as original and strange today.

The Free State of Dorimare lies on the coast where two rivers meet, and the capital, Lud-in-the-Mist, is a prosperous port town.  Generations ago, the Duke Aubrey was banished from Dorimare into neighboring Fairyland -- just over the Debatable Hills -- and there has never been any commerce with Fairyland since.   Dorimites live right next to the one place they strenuously ignore and cannot completely forget.

Nathaniel Chanticleer is like all the sensible men of the city, but his little son Ranulph has been talking a lot about azure cows and other difficult subjects, and now he claims to have eaten fairy fruit.  Everyone knows that to eat fairy fruit results in madness, and Nathaniel is in despair.  Curing Ranulph, and finding out how to stop the smuggling of fairy fruit, becomes his obsession.

This is more like it
 Read Chris' review, which is much more insightful than mine, but even better, read the book.  It's just a delight to read; the writing is wonderful, the story is strange, and the whole is unusual and refreshing.

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The top cover there is on the cheap Kindle edition I got.  It reminds me horribly of the Serendipity line of books I hated as a child.  I thought they were sappy.  The very word Bangalee makes my teeth grit involuntarily.   I would much prefer this quite attractive British edition that is not particularly available in the US.

 




6 comments:

Lauren said...

Oh I just started reading this. I bought the beautiful British edition with some birthday book tokens. Seeing the other cover makes me glad to be British. 🤣

(Long time lurker here just feeling inspired to one out and say hi. 🙂)

Lauren said...

*come* out, rather than one.

This is why I lurk! 🥺

Lory said...

That is such a ridiculous cover. It's not a silly psychedelic-art kind of book but is much wiser and wittier than that. I hate it when such misleading covers are permitted to deface our favorite books. The British cover is lovely and appropriate. Glad you enjoyed the book!

Jean said...

Oh, Lauren, I'm glad you commented! Thanks!

Lory, I so agree. E-book covers are so often much worse, because they're produced on the cheap.

Joy Weese Moll said...

I love the place names. This sounds delightful!

I wonder if that first cover was designed in the 1970s. It kind of has that vibe about it.

Alexa said...
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