Read Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees Online


Lud-in-the-Mist, the capital city of the small country Dorimare, is a port at the confluence of two rivers, the Dapple and the Dawl. The Dapple has its origin beyond the Debatable Hills to the west of Lud-in-the-Mist, in Fairyland. In the days of Duke Aubrey, some centuries earlier, fairy things had been look upon with reverence, and fairy fruit was brought down the DappleLud-in-the-Mist, the capital city of the small country Dorimare, is a port at the confluence of two rivers, the Dapple and the Dawl. The Dapple has its origin beyond the Debatable Hills to the west of Lud-in-the-Mist, in Fairyland. In the days of Duke Aubrey, some centuries earlier, fairy things had been look upon with reverence, and fairy fruit was brought down the Dapple and enjoyed by the people of Dorimare. But after Duke Aubrey had been expelled from Dorimare by the burghers, the eating of fairy fruit came to be regarded as a crime, and anything related to Fairyland was unspeakable. Now, when his son Ranulph is believed to have eaten fairy fruit, Nathaniel Chanticleer, the mayor of Lud-in-the-Mist, finds himself looking into old mysteries in order to save his son and the people of the city....

Title : Lud-in-the-Mist
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 3452584871
Format Type : paperback
Number of Pages : 273 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Lud-in-the-Mist Reviews

  • Sandi
    2018-10-23 14:27

    30-odd years before Tolkein published “The Lord of the Rings”, a British woman named Hope Mirrlees wrote a fantasy called “Lud-in-the-Mist”. Neil Gaiman wrote an introduction to the edition I read and I can see that he meant every word. His own “Stardust” draws very heavily on “Lud-in-the-Mist”, especially in setting and tone. Other recent novels that are reminiscent of “Lud-in-the-Mist” are “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” by Susannah Clarke and “Little, Big” by John Crowley. They all share a theme of the real world bordering on the fairy world and how the two interact. However, none of the novels I mentioned have quite the impact of “Lud-in-the-Mist”.Written in 1926, “Lud-in-the Mist” is one of the most charming fantasies I have ever read. It’s a beautifully written tale with layers upon layers of meaning. The language and imagery are breathtaking. There is a tension throughout the narrative that grows as the story progresses. It has humor and pathos. It has a bit of mystery and a bit of courtroom drama. It has heroes and villains and a villain who thinks he’s a hero. It has ordinary people moved to do the extraodinary and ordinary people being ordinary. It’s a tightly woven story that packs a lot into its slightly-over 300 pages and it reaches a dramatic, satisfying conclusion.What really charmed me was the way Mirrlees was able to say so much about her characters and their development with so few words. In particular, the character of Marigold Chanticleer seems to be so minor, just a background character. But, with very few words and very little to do, she grows from a docile wife, mother and woman into a very strong one—all without ever doing much of anything. Her growth comes from inside as her loyalties are challenged and her family threatened. It’s masterfully subtle.This novel did make me wonder if England had a temperance movement going on around the same time the US was enacting Prohibition. There seems to be a strong resemblance between the Ludite’s attitude towards fairy fruit and the American attitude towards alcohol during Prohibition. It also has a fair amount of political allegory going on. Clearly, the author was not an isolationist and the novel reflects that. I recommend “Lud-in-the-Mist” for every serious fan of fantasy. No, it’s not a multi-tomed epic with an endless quest and grand goals. But, it is a terrific, beautiful story that shows that there was great fantasy before “The Lord of the Rings” and that fantasy is something completely different.

  • reed
    2018-10-27 13:58

    Neil Gaiman raved about this book, so I read it. I wish I could have read it without knowing anything about it -- but I still liked it. It was written in the 1920's -- before fantasy tropes were so set in stone -- so it goes in directions you don't expect it to. Also, it's as though the author never heard of the idea that fantasy is a juvenile and disreputable genre, so she takes herself and her book seriously and uses fantasy to explore real and important ideas.

  • Tijana
    2018-11-09 16:00

    Izgleda da je Lud-in-the-Mist (Lud u magli? Lad? Ko bi ga znao) najpoznatiji nepoznati fentezi. U tom smislu da je objavljen 1926. i da je njegova istinski ekscentrična (i jednako istinski bogata) autorka posle toga uglavnom batalila pisanje; možda je smatrala da je u dvadeset petoj rekla sve što je imala. I da je sledećih devedesetak godina njegov uticaj na fantastiku, naročito britansku, vrlo prisutan i vrlo skriven čak i onda kad pisci na koje je Houp Mirliz presudno uticala (recimo Nil Gejman i Suzana Klark) to uopšte ne kriju. Kako da vam kažem, posle ove knjige Zvezdanu prašinu možete da posmatrate jedino kao imitaciju beznadežno udaljenu od originala i od njegovog osećaja za istinsku čaroliju.Roman koristi solidno poznati motiv - "normalno" mesto koje se graniči s Vilinskom zemljom i problemi koji iz toga nastaju za njegove (vrlo uslovno govoreći) "normalne" stanovnike - ali ga varira na dosta neobičan način i unosi sve moguće nijanse značenja i otvara se prema interpretacijama u rasponu od prikaza klasne borbe preko bolesti zavisnosti do odnosa stvarnosti, umetnosti i mita. I sve to uz jednu starinsku i često preterano sladunjavu slikovitost: malo je falilo da batalim knjigu posle prvih nekoliko stranica zbog liiiirskog sentimenta, ali je posle toga radnja naglo ubrzala a stil se oslobodio većine referenci na krhko, nežno i istančano (ali samo većine) i do kraja se održao na solidnoj visini. A pošto je ovo knjiga nastala i objavljena pre nego što se žanr epske fantastike konsolidovao oko Tolkina, razvoj i meandriranje radnje, a pogotovu likova, osvežavajuće su neočekivani a kraj... pa i kraj, zapravo, ali da sad ne zalazimo u to.

  • Kate Sherrod
    2018-10-20 16:02

    Of course, I come to this novel via Tim Powers, who quoted it quite tantalizingly and memorably in Last Call as one to which Scott Crane and his late wife often referred in their intimate shorthand with one another. At one point Susan's ghost, or at least the chthonic spirt-of-alcohol that is impersonating Susan refers to "a blackish canary" ("canary" as in the sense of "a shade of yellow" rather than that of the bird of that name) as a way of commenting on Scott's refusal to grasp what is really going on and his dismissal thereof as really pretty unimportant anyway... Such a strange phrase, that, I've always wanted to see it in context and see where it came from.Well, now I know. And its source is just as intriguing and maddening and wonderful and mind-bogglingly cool as I had hoped it would be.Lud-in-the-Mist is one of those open secrets by which real fantasy fans of a certain wistful, thoughtful, poetic type know each other, I think. Originally published in 1926, it dates from the same era that gave us H.P. Lovecraft and Lord Dunsany and Clark Ashton Smith, and shares some of the dreamlike qualities of the best of those writers' work, but has none of the menace and horror. At least not overtly, though, and I rejoice to say it, Mirlees' version of fairies and Fairyland is quite, quite uncanny.At first the book reminded me more than a little of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast works, the first of which, Titus Groan, I am about halfway through reading but may not ever finish not so much out of dislike as exhaustion with Peake's "fantasy of manners" and its glacial slowness and hypnotic stolidity* and its near lack of action. But soon I realized that this was an altogether sprightlier work, for all its early chapter concerns with a politically and socially powerful father who regards his son as a mere adjunct or appendage of his own identity.But then the book comes into its own just as Nathan Chanticleer's young son is suddenly revealed to him as a whole 'nother human being when he stumbles into confessing that he has broken the city of Lud-in-the-Mist's single greatest taboo: he has eaten fairy fruit. Fairy fruit being something between a narcotic and a food exported by the nation that borders Chanticleer's own, that being Fairyland. You know, where fairies are, and magic and stuff. Stuff that has been expunged as thoroughly as possible from memory and consciousness by the middle class of Lud-in-the-Mist as part of their socio-political coup that rid the city of its irrational hereditary aristocracy and its feudalistic ways.Of course, in ridding the city of its old masters and replacing them with rational, vaguely meritocratic,profit-minded new ones, much was lost, and many did not give it up lightly. Thus a sort of cult in which the last Duke, Aubrey, is basically an avatar of the Green Man, still quietly flourishes in Lud-in-the-Mist and its environs, and lots of secret doings can be traced back to this cult and its adherents, witting and un-. Which is how, of course, the youngest Chanticleer winds up eating fairy fruit and in so doing turn everything possible on its head.The rest of the plot winds up being almost a cozy mystery as Nathan tries to track down how this unspeakable thing has happened to his (belated) pride and joy. A cozy mystery with truly wonderful grace notes, including astonishingly lovely prose and wonderful insights into the nature of truth, the power of belief, and the limitations of reason. ""Reason, I know, is only a drug, and, as such, its effects are never permanent" says one city father to another. "But, like the juice of the poppy, it often gives a temporary relief."A lot of Lud-in-the-Mist deals with just that kind of careful construction of reality in which each of us is constantly engaging in our heads, construction that involves careful choices about what to let in, what to ignore, and what to abhor as impossible or otherwise unreal. The nature of the Law comes in for special scrutiny; as the most unusual and interesting variety of consensual delusion, it is the perfect foil for the delusions and unrealities of (pardon me for using such coarse language, but sometimes one must, to get one's point across) Fairyland.If at times Lud-in-the-Mist feels a tad too allegorical, the effect is of short duration. One is quickly distracted from this jaundiced view of the book by the characters and their surroundings, that glow with vibrant color and come to such vivid life one might think one has been slipped some fairy fruit onself. Or wish to have been.*If anyone ever tries to make a feature film of these books (I understand there was a BBC miniseries early this century), I insist Werner Herzog get first crack at it, and that he hypnotize his cast every shooting day like he did for Heart of Glass and has them perform so entranced. But we don't need that to happen, really, because we have Heart of Glass.

  • Oliviu Craznic
    2018-11-14 17:08

    An exquisite, well-written, fascinating fantasy - unfortunately, a very disappointing ending. Or, should I say, very disappointing AFTER the ending, as the episode of Master Nathaniel meeting Duke Aubrey and finding the truth about Fairyland should have been the excellent ending of the book.However, the author decided to write a few chapters more, and the conclusion was not at all fit for the story.Worth reading, though. Could have been a masterpiece - it is, at the end of the day, just a fine book with a disappointing finale.

  • Olivier Delaye
    2018-11-11 19:16

    Neil Gaiman made me do it! Er, for those who don't know, Neil Gaiman touted Lud-in-the-mist as one of the best yet most overlooked Fantasy novels of the twentieth century, and in my humble opinion he slightly, just slightly, oversold it. Sure, it's a beautifully written book, and Fantasy notwithstanding, surprisingly timeless (actually, it's pretty hard to believe it was written in 1926!), but for some reason I found it a bit hard to get into the story and care for any of the characters. I appreciated the beauty of the prose, liked the idea of two civilizations (faerie and human) clashing together (even if more recent novels like Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell did it better), and indeed found the overall plot/mystery interesting enough to keep me turning the pages, but all in all I fail to recognize the masterpiece proclaimed by Gaiman in his review. To each his own, I guess.

  • Jenna St Hilaire
    2018-11-12 13:01

    This is a tale of the relationship between Fairyland and ordinary life, which puts it at the heart of my favorite storytelling traditions. Born during the late lifetime of fellow countryman George MacDonald (relevant works: Phantastes, Lilith), and just thirteen years younger than  G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy), Mirrlees seems to write under the guidance of the same muse that led them. It wouldn't surprise me if she were directly influenced by either one or both; nor would it surprise me if, like both of them, she influenced Tolkien (I'm thinking especially of "On Fairy Stories") and Lewis with her own work. Neil Gaiman (Stardust) apparently admits her as a favorite, and while I haven't heard anything Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) may have said on the subject, I strongly suspect she's read this book.For all its both retrospective and forward-looking similarities to other great works of fantasy fiction, it's one of the more unpredictable tales I've ever read that yet managed an emotionally satisfying ending. I won't spoil the central points of unpredictability, but the satisfying ending bit required me to put my whole heart into sympathizing with the unlikely protagonist, which I did.Nat Chanticleer, a plump, gin-and-cheese-loving, middle-aged lawmaker, is outwardly as steady and stodgy and Law-driven as his exquisitely stuffy friend Ambrose and all their comrades. But inwardly—well, inwardly, he's heard the Note. It's the Note that makes Nat a kindred spirit. He's never perfect; he's dithery and melancholic, and he bears comparatively little attachment to his daughter, for all he loves his son. But that Note helps him, and it's the first thing that puts tears in my eyes when I think back over the book.For all the story's unpredictability, it's primarily a fairy tale. It reads a little like an allegory for something, but it's hard to fix on what, precisely. Mirrlees converted (from what, I'm not sure) to Catholicism just a couple of years after publishing this novel, and perhaps she, like me, saw in Catholicism one of the few places where Faerie took safe refuge from modernity, but her conversion did apparently come after writing the book, and her creatures of Fairyland are nearer relatives of Clarke's gentleman with the thistle-down hair than they are to any saint. That said, with the exception of possibly justifying certain dispositions of a certain rascal—I dare not get more spoilery than that—the allegory reads as true.It's certainly an old-fashioned story; modern readers might find it difficult to get into, as it's heavily frontloaded with description and backstory. Nobody browbeat authors back then with the fear that such tactics might bore readers. The first half felt a tad long to me, but the second half—once the story began to be less about Lud in general and more about Nat—did not.The second half is worth reading the first half for. It's hero's journey and murder mystery and philosophical conflict between law-abiding and lawlessness, and I thought it honestly delightful. But even the first half contains some startling little thought-gems and a lot of beautiful poetic prose.I could see people disliking it, but it's hard to imagine who. If you like Clarke's work or Gaiman's, MacDonald's fairy stories or Tolkien's, it's worth giving Lud-in-the-Mist a try. It's not derivative fantasy; it's one of the classics from which the greats derive. I loved it. I could see myself reading it again. And perhaps again and again after that.

  • Phoenixfalls
    2018-11-16 15:00

    I don't think I'm well-read enough to review this book -- as is the case with many British writers of that period, Mirrlees is far better classically educated than I am, and I'm sure I missed quite a few of her references. However, I now firmly agree with Neil Gaiman that this is "the single most beautiful, solid, unearthly, and unjustifiably forgotten novel of the twentieth century" so I felt I should attempt to review it here in the hopes that I get a few more people to seek it out.This is most distinctly not the sort of fantasy novel that would be able to get published today. Tolkien's Shire feels strongly influenced by Mirrlees' Lud, but it's not the Shire that so many fantasy writers and publishers have taken as their model, it's all that pesky questing and evil-battling. There are no epic quests in this novel, and there is definitely nothing as comforting as a black-and-white delineation of good and bad.Instead, Lud-in-the-Mist is somehow at the confluence of high fantasy rooted strongly rooted in folktale and a political thriller. It is written in a surprisingly straightforward, earthy style that nonetheless has plenty of room for some of the most beguiling and delightful descriptive passages I've ever read. It uses broad comedy side by side with the melancholy and the bittersweet. It can be read as a parable of class struggle, or as an endorsement of mind-altering drugs (keep in mind that it was published in 1926, so I highly doubt that this was what Mirrlees intended). It is most certainly about balancing the mundane and the miraculous (paraphrasing Gaiman's introduction), which perhaps explains how it came to be all these things at once.There are quite a few elements that turned people off (judging from the reviews I've seen online) but every single one of them worked for me: yes, the first third or so was highly episodic; yes, Nathaniel Chanticleer seems a bit of a bumbling fool at first, and isn't exactly likable; yes, it is very British, and quite old, so everyone reads white (though the women come off quite a bit better than in most of the fantasy written by men at the time) and as I mentioned above there are plenty of classical references. If your reading diet is entirely post-Tolkien fantasy, this novel will come as a bit of a shock to the senses. But if you actually enjoyed some of those classics they forced on you in school (things like Gulliver's Travels, for instance, whether you read the satire or not) and want some fantasy with both a brain and a heart, this is absolutely the book for you.

  • Nikki
    2018-11-04 18:06

    I’ve been meaning to read Lud-in-the-Mist for ages and ages, and I don’t know why I didn’t get round to it sooner. It is classic fantasy; more like Lord Dunsany’s work than anything modern, though maybe Patricia McKillip might be a spiritual successor in some ways. The prose is glorious; it just feels warm and vivid, though honey-tinged in colour. I felt, reading it, like I could see the city of Lud; like I knew something of the dreams of its people, even if their daily lives were perhaps a little too devoid of the whimsical. It’s a fairly traditional set-up in a way: a town which embraces modernism and turns away from what Fairyland offers, while Fairyland creeps in through the gaps.There’s whimsy, but there’s also quite serious comments on human nature and human relationships, on people and the kinds of things they do and think. And ultimately, the point about letting in a little Fairyland is a good one: it’s basically a metaphor for imagination and fun, and that is something people need.The characters are interesting because they’re not what you would expect from modern fantasy; they’re not great people, they’re not heroes. The main character is a middle-aged man who just wants to protect his son — a son he doesn’t understand, but whom he loves all the same, and maybe is only just realising how much he loves. Nathaniel Chanticleer isn’t a particularly good man, nor a particularly clever one — in fact, he can be rather silly; he’s not some exemplary chosen one. He’s just the one who happens to be there, and just happens to do the right things, because of perfectly ordinary emotions.I really enjoyed Lud-in-the-Mist, probably for the same reason I enjoyed Dunsany: it’s a kind of magic that I don’t find in modern fantasy enough, an old enchantment.Originally posted here.

  • FuchsiaGroan
    2018-10-21 18:01

    Maravilloso clásico de la fantasía escrito en 1926, moderno, irónico, crítico, lleno de personajes carismáticos, con ese maravilloso aire de leyenda, de cuento antiguo. Tremendamente evocador.¿Quién no se ha preguntado en qué bosques misteriosos nuestros antepasados descubrieron los modelos que inspiraron las bestias y los pájaros de sus tapices?No hay ninguna cosa cotidiana que, contemplada desde cierto ángulo, no se transforme en un hada. Piense en el Dapple, o en el Dawl, cuando se pierden en el crepúsculo hacia el este. Piense en un bosque otoñal o en un espino en mayo. (...) Todas esas cosas nos resultan familiares, pero ¿qué es lo que deberíamos pensar si no las hubiéramos visto nunca y leyéramos una descripción suya o las contemplásemos por vez primera? ¡Un río dorado! ¡Árboles llameantes! ¡Árboles que, repentinamente, rompen a florecer! Por lo que parece, Dorimare podría ser el Reino de las Hadas para la gente del otro lado de las colinas del Confín.Una auténtica joya.

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2018-11-17 14:27

    The people of Lud were...well, "Luddites". This book I read long ago and it is by turns very sad, very funny, and always mind tickling. This is one of those..if you can find it, "must reads" of fantasy. Of course some will disagree with me...but I'd say if you get the chance, read it.

  • Fish
    2018-10-27 14:09

    (Why is Neil Gaiman's name on this too? Can that ego maniac go away forever?)Anyway, I'm enjoying it, and it's pretty mysterious and interesting so far.

  • Simon
    2018-11-06 15:07

    A fairy tale for adults. Both serious and light, this is a story that works on more than one level. The surface narrative is an intriguing story and mystery that gradually builds tension and is delivered with a pleasant, leisurely prose style. But also the author is trying to say something about society and the meaning of life.Stylistically, I found echoes of this in Jack Vance's "Lyonesse" books. Certainly I think if you liked one then you'll like the other. But don't read this if you want more conventional heroes and villains, battles and fast paced action, you'll not get any of that here.I don't have too much to say about this really, it's one of those books that will undoubtedly play on your mind for a long time afterwards, new ideas and interpretations springing to mind. I certainly don't think that summarising the plot is of any benefit to those considering reading it. By now they should have a pretty good idea whether this book is for them or not.

  • Olga Godim
    2018-11-05 13:17

    I’ve been thinking: why couldn’t I finish this book, why did I get so bored? Now I know – because I couldn’t care for any of the characters. None was sympathetic. None inspired me to like him or her, even a little bit. In that, this book resembled a satire, but it wasn’t sufficiently funny either. It also read like a huge metaphor, but I didn’t like what I was seeing in it. Too close to home, I suppose.And it was too slow. I stopped reading on page 85, when still nothing happened, just lots of talk about something that might be happening ... soon ... almost. Up until this point, most of the printed space was taken by back stories of characters and places. I guess I’m not patient enough to plod through the rest of the book and find out if anything is actually going to happen. On the positive side, the purist of the English language will find delight in this old tale. Its writing is superb and its descriptions evocative and original, no cliché in sight. In the 85 pages that I read, I found the following examples of the author’s wonderful command of the English language. I miss it in the modern books, where action is much faster. It had an ancient Guild Hall, built of mellow golden bricks and covered with ivy and, when the sun shone on it, it looked like a rotten apricot; …(*) Spiritually, too, he passed for a typical Dorimarite; though, indeed, it is never safe to classify the souls of one’s neighbors; one is apt, in the long run, to be proved a fool.The men of the revolution, he said, had substituted law for fairy fruit. But whereas only the reigning Duke and his priests had been allowed to partake of the fruit, the law was given freely to rich and poor alike. Again, fairy was delusion, so was the law. At any rate, it was a sort of magic, molding reality into any shape it chose. … In the eye of the law, neither Fairyland nor fairy things existed. But then, as Master Josiah had pointed out, the law plays fast and loose with reality – and no one really believes it. [in another snippet, the author calls this kind of attitude “legal fiction”]“Master Nathaniel, I’d like to reason with you a little,” he said. “Reason I know, is only a drug, and, as such, its effects are never permanent. But, like the juice of the poppy, it often gives a temporary relief.”The world the author describes is too much like our own, despite the hundred years separating us from the time of this book’s writing, and the heroes are too much like my neighbors: a bit self-important and a lot ignorant, loving their children and despising their spouses but indifferent to everyone else. [See (*) quote above. I guess I’m a fool too, just like them.] I read and saw myself and eventually closed this book for good in disgust.It’s a wise book and an insightful book. It’s just not interesting. New words and expressions for me:Pleached alley – an alley with branches interweaved overhead Plangent – loud, resonatingPoncif – I couldn’t find this world in any of the online dictionaries. Something to do with architecture, I surmise. Exogamy – the custom of marriage outside one’s circle

  • Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
    2018-11-10 12:16

    An obscure fantasy classic, if that isn’t too much of an oxymoron. This little gem was first published in 1926, then re-released in 2005 with a beautiful cover (and too many typos – I have no patience for publishers milking a dead author’s work without bothering to copyedit, even if they do have great cover artists).Lud-in-the-Mist is set in a fictional land reminiscent of pre-industrial England; it feels like a precursor to Tolkien’s Shire. Of all the modern fantasy I’ve read, the book that feels most directly influenced by it is Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Like Strange & Norrell, this is more literary fiction than genre fantasy; there’s a political edge to Lud-in-the-Mist, and many classical references (I’m sure I missed most of them), and that forbidden, life-altering fairy fruit is certainly symbolic of something, though interpretations vary. Also like Strange & Norrell, the book deals in part with the relationship between the human world and faerie – which is neither good nor evil, but mysterious and sinister in its occupants’ murky motivations. The real world is here, too, out of the corner of your eye; though it's set in a fantasy world, the occasional reference to, say, eighteenth-century Rome, reminds readers that fantasy stories weren’t always told the way popular epics are today. The omniscient narrator – familiar with both Dorimare and our world – adds a certainly chilly distance entirely appropriate to the story.With that, I’ll refrain from describing the plot – all you need to know can be found in the blurb – and merely say that this is a well-written, vivid little book, both unearthly and firmly grounded in reality. The characterization is solid, without clear heroes and villains; the closest this book has to a protagonist is a somewhat pompous, boyish politician, but both he and his country are changed irrevocably by the events of the book. And the ending is very satisfying. All in all, this makes an excellent adult fairy tale, recommended to those who like their fantasy novels to be good literature as well as fresh and imaginative.

  • Zen Cho
    2018-11-12 18:07

    ahhhh this rocked!!! It's funny how this mostly takes place in the Real World (as opposed to Fairyland) and Neil Gaiman's Stardust mostly takes place in Fairyland (not the Real World), and yet there is more magic in a single serif on any letter of any word on any page of Lud-in-the-Mist than there is in the ENTIRE BOOK of Stardust.I should note that its handling of race is weird -- Tolkien-style "all the non-white people are from somewhere else". Indigo people appear to be the world's analogue for black/brown people, and one point a character says, "White is supposed to be better than black" -- he isn't talking about skin colour, but still.

  • Randolph Carter
    2018-11-09 15:59

    I'm not a big fan of this sort of fantasy. It's a good read as this thing goes, just not my kind of stuff. Whimsical fairy tale with a bit of a grim side to it that is hard to categorize. Probably a bit of an influence on authors like Neil Gaiman. Nod and a wink kind of stuff that is charming and sly at the same time.

  • Eric Orchard
    2018-10-24 15:07

    I can't believe it took me so long to read this! It's a classic fantasy novel, totally essential to anyone who loves this type of book. After reading this book, it seems that there's a whole tradition of literature descended directly from this story. Unlike Tolkien ( who I love ) this is a more modern take on folklore and human nature but at the same time it reaches back far into primal things. I can really see where writers like Neil Gaiman and Suzanne Clarke are coming from.

  • Aitziber Madinabeitia
    2018-11-06 14:13

    Si os gusta el folclore y los cuentos de hadas tenéis que leer Entrebrumas. es difícil hoy día encontrar historias con hadas así de buenas, de auténticas y enraizadas en el fértil suelo de la tradición feerica occidental. Una delicia de libro, contado al ritmo pausado de quien charla junto al fuego.

  • Nazmul Hasan
    2018-11-06 13:00

    A work of art. Read it. NOW

  • Helen
    2018-11-16 16:25

    Interesting story, lyrical prose.

  • Tracey
    2018-11-06 17:05

    I have wanted to read this for awhile so I am thrilled that I was able to secure a copy through inter library loan. This will be the last book I read of 2017, and what a great little gem to finish the year on.This almost forgotten fantasy tells the story of a country and it's people; Dorimare, that is bounded by sea and mountains and watered by two rivers, the Dapple and the Dawl. The Dapple has it's source in the country to the west, Fairyland, which borders Dorimare with the Debatable Mountains and the Elfin Marches at the foothills. At the beginning of the story, there has been no intercourse between the two countries for many centuries. Indeed, Dorimare has a law that states that Fairyland does not exist. But as Josiah Chanticleer knows, father of Nathaniel, Mayor of Dorimare, the law plays fast and loose with reality...

  • Nick Imrie
    2018-10-21 19:19

    Virginia Woolf described Hope Mirrlees as 'capricious, exacting, exquisite, very learned, and beautifully dressed' which also, I think, describes Mirrlees's greatest book: Lud-in-the-Mist.Lud-in-the-Mist is the capital of Dorimare, which borders fairyland. But ever since the aristocracy were chased off and the merchants established control of the town, fairy has been a dirty word and no crime is more depraved and taboo than the eating of fairy fruit. Fairyland and Dorimare must be reconciled, and the book can be read as an allegory or metaphor for all kinds of reconciliation. Is it a Jungian story about integrating the shadow self? Is it about balancing reason and emotion or creativity and practicality? Is it about mind-expanding drugs? Is it about sexual repression and acceptance? Yes.The story is like fairyland itself: bigger on the inside than the outside, and those who visit for a day return home to find they have been gone for years. It seems like a compact, fast-moving little tale, and yet it keeps expanding and expanding in your mind until it's as big as the whole world. It's tightly plotted and paced, and yet there is ample time to stop and reflect in meandering and witty asides which can be both whimsical and unnervingly accurate all at once, such as:It is never safe to classify the souls of one's neighbours; one is apt, in the long run, to be proved a fool. You should regard each meeting with a friend as a sitting he is unwillingly giving you for a portrait - a portrait that, probably, when you or he die, will still be unfinished.So Lud-in-the-Mist is all at once simple and complicated, surprising and inevitable, strange and familiar. And as well as all that, it's very very English. Napolean Bonaparte once sneered that the English were a nation of shopkeepers, and there is much of that kind of Englishness in this story. The characters have the sort of wonderfully funny names that one finds in English fastasy from Pratchett to Rowling, like Prunella Chanticleer, Polydore Vigil or Peter Pease. And as we all know, nobody with a silly name can every be a great hero. Not that any Ludite would want to be: here are people concerned with their business, their comfort and minding their own business. Luckily for the reader, one Ludite does find it in him to make the journey to Fairyland, and I couldn't say whether he goes because of his solid, gentry sense of duty or because of the call of that numinous note, 'plangent, blood-freezing and alluring', that we all hear once in our lives.

  • Sean
    2018-11-07 16:15

    Lud-in-the-Mist comes highly recommended, first by the situation of its author (Mirlees was an intimate of Woolf and Eliot, and they both praised some of her work) and second by a number of modern authors who claim that it is a forgotten fantasy masterpiece.Unfortunately, it is merely okay. I realize that many people think it unfair to judge a book by modern standards, but that's exactly the standard that I have for books I read—and there are any number of truly classic novels that can stand up to that test, even after a couple of centuries. Hope Mirlees's book, in my opinion, for me, cannot.The story is fairly charming: Dorimare, a small but rich country between the ocean and the mountains in an unspecified European-type setting, has the unique position of bordering on Fairyland to the west. (If the book has one strength it is that Mirlees treats this element with a complete matter-of-factness that lends a convincing touch of realism to the atmosphere of the tale.) Relations between the two countries have been nonexistent for the past two centuries, however, and the Dorimarites now have a horror of all things fairy-related, and indeed have adopted as some of the most vulgar swearwords phrases having to do with Fairyland (recalling the sacres of Québecois French). Fairy fruit is a banned import and is treated at some times as a dangerous drug, at others as hideous curse that must not even be mentioned.Nicholas Chanticleer is the current mayor of Lud-in-the-Mist, capital city of Dorimare, when he discovers that his son has been tainted by the dreaded fairy fruit, and, indeed, that the entire city is in danger from that horrific moral plague. Things happen (a great deal of things) and people are introduced (a great deal of people, all of them caricatures, to an extent), but it is impossible to summarize the story because it is so fragmented and disorganized. Some commentators claim that at times it is a fantasy novel, at times a spy thriller, at times a detective novel, at times . . . and they are right. If only the whole had been tied together a bit more convincingly, Lud-in-the-Mist might have been a touch more fun to read!

  • Lora
    2018-10-31 12:15

    This was a great story, fantastic in its fantasy and deeply felt. Clean, hopeful, not overly intense or focused on darkness. It also emphasizes the saving grace of creativity in our lives. It was rather symbolic, much of which I could just get a whiff of and almost recognize, other aspects I felt were really quite familiar. Because it was written before too many formulas for story telling had been cursed into stone, it is unusual, fresh, and expects much of its reader. Beautiful passages, interesting characters, some things you see coming and some you don't. I like that the bad guys were the ones who seemed to have lost a certain amount of freedom- they were stuck in their thinking, because they had lost the creativity and free will of the person who chooses good. The good characters were able to grow and change. Their strengths became power. This flies in the face of so much Disney depiction of good and bad, as well as many more modern writings where the bad guy is the most interesting character with more nuances of personality and a larger vocabulary as well. For nearly my entire life good has been portrayed as boring. This book utterly flies in the face of that entire useless, harmful, deceitful trope. It is nearly ninety years old, but what a breath of fresh air it was for me. I recommend this book to all. And I intend to re-read it later, to try and catch more of the meaning flitting between the words.Some hints for me later, when I am looking for those half hidden trails through this book:Creativity is part of our essence.The idea of yin and yang serves well.Freedom comes with doing what is good. Certainty, strength, forgiveness, faith, all these are resources for us to tap into in our daily struggle.There is always redemption, if we will reach out our hand for it.Friendship is important. Family is important. Good has value, but it must be good that is truly good, not just what we think is good. Listen to your instinct, your gut, your conscience, the spirit.One of the best books I have ever read. I want an old copy, just yellowed enough, with a hard cover and thick pages. I could get lost in a book like that.

  • C
    2018-10-26 12:11

    One of my favorite books. Subtle, sly, terrifying, funny, precise. Mirrlees is a prime example of a female writer whose ideas were appropriated and overshadowed by other (male) writers. Case in point: one of the first passages, after Master Nathaniel accidentally plays a note from an enchanted lute: "He was never again the same man. For years that note was the apex of his nightly dreams; the point towards which, by their circuitous and seemingly senseless windings, they had all the time been converging. It was as if the note were a living substance, and subject to the law of chemical changes - that is to say, as that law works in dreams. For instance, he might dream that his old nurse was baking an apple on the fire in her own cosy room, and as he watched it simmer and sizzle she would look at him with a strange smile, a smile such as he had never seen on her face in his waking hours, and say, 'But, of course, you know it isn't really the apple. It's the note.'"A little later..."[the Note] had generated in him what one can only call a wistful yearning after the prosaic things he already possessed. It was as if he thought he had already lost what he was actually holding in his hands.From this there sprang an ever present sense of insecurity together with a distrust of the homely things he cherished. With which familiar object - quill, pipe, pack of cards - would he be occupied, in which regularly recurrent action - the pulling on or off of his nightcap, the weekly auditing of his accounts - would he be engaged when IT, the hidden menace, sprang out at him? And he would gaze in terror at his furniture, his walls, his pictures - what strange scene might they one day witness, what awful experience might he one day have in their presence?Hence, at times, he would gaze on the present with the agonizing tenderness of one who gazes on the past..."

  • LPG
    2018-11-16 14:59

    Lud-In-The-Mist has stuck in my mind like soft, dreamy taffy. It's a perfect example of a book I would have never found without Goodreads. It has it all: pre-Tolkien genre concepts, fantasy that leans more towards the faerie than the fairy, and a comfortingly British cast to follow.The story is very rote Agatha Christie stuff. Taboo fairy fruit keeps finding its way into the city. People eat the fruit & go slightly batty. Our distinctly British heroes must find out how and why. There's a mysterious widow, a lost son, a sinister doctor and good gentle servants. Honestly I don't know how I'd never heard of this book before. It has EVERYTHING I enjoy.Mirrlees' writing is A+ stuff too. It's both elegant and languorous in showing the everyday ways of the city of Lud-In-the-Mist, but as our characters delve further into the mystery of the contraband fairy fruit, becomes menacing and sharp. There's a real unexpected edge of danger and I genuinely feared for the lives of our central characters more than once.I wish I could put into words why this book has snagged something so deep in my heart. I read it a month ago. I've read three other books since, but it's this one that keeps floating through my minds eye when I'm driving to work, or walking on the beach, or about to go to sleep. I'm at a loss for what else to say about this magical experience. I'll leave this review with a quote, and a wish that you read it too. "Was it possible that Ranulph, too, was a real person, a person inside whose mind things happened? He had thought that he himself was the only real person in a field of human flowers. For Master Nathaniel that was a moment of surprise, triumph, tenderness, alarm.”

  • Mary Catelli
    2018-11-01 15:26

    A fantasy tale predating The Lord of the Rings by decades. . . .Lud-In-the-Mists is the capital of Dorimare, a prosperous country that bordered on Fairyland, and once upon a time had been a duchy before they revolted at the last one's caprice and destructiveness. Now it was ruled by a wealthy merchant class and very content they were, having prohibited any dealings with Fairyland at all -- particularly with its fruit, which has a peculiar effect on those who eat it, who are never content after without it. True, there are plenty of folk beliefs yet, such as the thought that the dead, the Silent People, were taken off to Fairyland to reap the fields of gillyflowers, but in polite society, it was never talked of.Nathaniel Chanticleer had once, in his childhood, heard a note that haunt him after, but not so much that he did not become a rotund, married merchant, elected Mayor, and having two children. When his son starts to talk of fairies -- in company no less -- he is greatly distressed, and sends for the doctor, Endymion Leer, who scorns the notion that he ate fairy fruit and prescribes a stay at a country farm.But that does not end it.The tale involves a finishing school run by Miss Primrose Crabapple, a widow acquitted of murder, a man who changed his name, a book talking about Fairyland's connections with Dorimare, the habit of hanging fennel over doorways, an accidental password, a family crypt and much more, into an enchanting tale. Some may find it slow moving as it builds up the land of Dorimare and all its inhabitants, but I found them intriguing.

  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
    2018-11-01 17:23

    This book is full of parables that you can feel the essence of, but never quite get with your conscious mind. But same as how in the book it's told that the characters understood certain things not with their mind but somehow differently, you understand it as well, without really understanding it. It's like remembering a dream after waking up - somehow it all makes sense, although nothing really does, and things can't be arranged in order at all, happening simultaneously but at the same time one after another, and having logical links without really having any at all. It's weird, but I think that's the way this book works as well. At the same time it's really sad, and also nostalgic in a sad way (as opposed to the sweet kind of nostalgia you have about, say, things from your childhood), of things that never really had anything to do with you and your life. It's like you're hearing the Note too, same as Nathaniel Chanticleer, but you have no idea what it is. It's one of those books that leaves you wondering about what happened in it at all, but then you're also not sure if it's only just a book you read..

  • Emma
    2018-10-31 12:25

    This was a very charming little book, by turns witty, melancholy, nostalgic and playful. While it was fascinating to get an idea of what the fantasy genre looked like before Lord of the Rings, the book's age definitely showed in some of the very outdated social commentary that surfaced from time to time. I also feel like I might have better appreciated the book if I had a better idea of the context it was written in, because I'm convinced that there was a lot of thinly veiled political commentary that I didn't quite pick up on because of a lack of knowledge about the contemporary political issues it was referencing. However, the prose was beautifully vibrant without ever turning purple, and while the plot is quite weak (again, this may be partially due to me not quite picking up on allegory of some sort, but I do believe that a plot should be able to stand on its own, even divorced from its deeper meaning), the characters - particularly the protagonist - were very endearing, so overall I quite enjoyed it.