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"This Hill is Still Dangerous": Alan Garner's Weirdstone Trilogy - A Hauntology

Jones T (2017) "This Hill is Still Dangerous": Alan Garner's Weirdstone Trilogy - A Hauntology. In: Jackson A (ed.). New Directions in Children's Gothic: Debatable Lands. Children's Literature and Culture, London: Routledge, pp. 176-188.

First paragraph: In Alan Garner’s 1973 young adult novel Red Shift, young couple Tom and Jan arrange to meet in the small town of Crewe. There, Tom observes that Crewe’s centre, filled with shops, is ‘“Ultimate reality. That’s why we can’t touch it. Each of these shops is full of every aspect of one part of existence. Woolworth’s is a tool shed; Boots, a bathroom; the British Home Stores, a wardrobe. And we walk through it all, but we can’t clean our teeth, or mend a fuse, or change our socks. You’d starve in this supermarket. It’s all so real, we’re shadows.”’[i] Tom is troubled by the apparent power of an ever-growing commodity culture to render he and Jan insubstantial, useless, hungry, as if they were ghosts. They might occupy the same space as the brand name shops in all their convenience and modernity, but their bodies apparently remain distant. Worse, the shops are understood as so insistently real that Tom and Jan are left questioning their own status; they are marginal, no more than shadows. Readers are encouraged to agree. The life espoused by the chain stores on the High Streets is inadequate. [i] Alan Garner, Red Shift (1973. New York: New York Review Books, 2011), p. 80.

EditorJackson A
AuthorsJones Timothy
Title of seriesChildren's Literature and Culture
Publication date2017
Place of publicationLondon
ISBN 978-1138905474
eISBN 9781315695877
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