|What happens when you take a brilliant book ...|
No, not the Neil Diamond song of the same name - although it is a favourite of mine - but rather a reference to having been doing some re-reading recently and enjoying getting reacquainted with some old friends. One of them was Noel Langley's The Land of Green Ginger: it's one of those marvellous books that you never really grow out of. And what's not to love about a book which kicks off with "... I bring you a Tale of Heroes and Villains, just as in Life; Birds and Beasts, just as in Zoos; Mysteries and Magic, just as in Daydreams; and the Wonderful Wanderings of an Enchanted Land which was never in the same place twice. As long ago as Long Ago, and as Long Ago Again as That ..." It is the book which at a tender and impressionable age introduced me to such fabulous names as Prince Tintac Ping Foo, Rubdub Ben Thud, Sulkpot Ben Nagnag and Boomalakka Wee, not to mention the idea that you could incorporate real people (Omar Khayyam) into a fictional tale or create a 'what happened next' instalment to a traditional folk story (in this case Aladdin): it wasn't afraid to use big (but interesting) words and it was the first time I came into contact with such writerly devices as a mini-teaser to introduce each chapter, the Use of Capital Letters within a Sentence as well as at the Beginning of It, not to mention teaching assonance, alliteration, irony and sarcasm - not that I was aware of it at the time. This is pre-Pratchett, but every bit as clever, quirky, original and witty; and despite being first published in 1937 it really is just as fresh as ever.
|... and get busy with cuts and the old red pen|
without first consulting a fully qualified whippet?