The Guardians of the House by Lucy M. Boston

The Guardians of the House by Lucy M. Boston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After many years of not understanding her work, I am increasingly obsessed with Lucy M. Boston. I found The Sea Egg a remarkable thing, and A Stranger At Green Knowe transformative. I think it is the stubborn strangeness of her work that appeals to me. They are not necessarily the easiest books to read nor those with the more straightforward of message but they are so fiercely and utterly themselves and I love them for that. They are persistent stories which tell the story that they want to tell, irrespective of the world about them. I like that. I like that a lot.

The Guardians Of The House is a slender story concerning a boy who breaks into a house and if you have read some of Boston’s other work, you will have an idea of what happens next. But in a way, you really don’t. This is a story where the familiar is made strange and paragraphs twist in and out of themselves, transporting you somewhere else within a heartbeat before even you or even they have quite realised what is happening. There are moments when this works better than others and a few moments that work stiffly from a modern perspective but all of them work in a way that only Boston (or perhaps Philippa Pearce) can do. This is a book that explores the edges of the world.

(I have always described myself as somebody who did not quite understand fantasy and now I wonder if it is because I have just been reading the wrong sort of fantasy, all along…)

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