I’ve been rereading this series recently (I review the opener here); partially as a refresher for a paper I’m delivering in the next few months, but also, you know, because they are good. I’ve been reading the originals and the reprints and I really love what Catnip hae done with them.
And if I am honest, I have simply ached to write about these books really though I have not known where to begin.
So, perhaps, I begin with this.
This is a story about a horse; a story about loving a horse, so much, that it becomes almost a daemon of yourself. From Pantalaimon to Kes, animals are our heart. The thing we do not deserve and yet we are given. Jinny is given Shantih. Quite often she does not deserve her, does not deserve this horse of flame and fire and magic, and she knows this. She knows the great humility of loving a horse. The horse. The entirety that is caught up in that.
I have been writing about landscape in children’s literature; about the way the natural world reflects those explicit and implicit ideologies in narrative, the way that The Secret Garden both gives the natural world to Mary and Colin and Dickon and yet cages them within that natural existence, the way the city and the country coexist so uneasily, so emphatically, within Goodnight Mr Tom, and I have been writing about the Jinny books and the madly evocative landscape of Finmory and of Loch Varich and of ospreys and sturdy Highland ponies.
So, perhaps, I give you these photographs of Talisker Bay, the inspiration for Finmory Bay, in lieu of words. Both a taster of the paper I’m going to give but also, perhaps, a way to talk about books that leave you wordless and unmade.