Monday, September 1, 2008

Swallows & Amazons - Arthur Ransome

The first of Ransome's twelve classic books introduces us to the four Walker children (the Swallows) the two Blackett girls (the Amazons) and their eponymous boats. The lake, Uncle Jim and much else that will become familiar background in many of the remaining books is also introduced. It's hardly surprising that these stories have remained in print for some seventy-plus years: the writing is clear and unfussy while entering fully into the children's world and portraying events honestly and earnestly from their point of view. There's no layer of irony to attract a sophisticated reader: one has to engage with the adventure from the perspective of the protagonists; Ransome makes this not only possible but also a joy, even for the twenty-first century reader.


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