Lud-in-the-Mist

Lud-in-the-Mist

by Hope Mirrlees

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Overview

The book that New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman considers "one of the finest [fantasy novels] in the English language."

Between the mountains and the sea, between the sea and Fairyland, lay the Free State of Dorimare and its picturesque capital, Lud-in-the-Mist. No Luddite ever had any truck with fairies or Fairyland. Bad business, those fairies. The people of Dorimare had run them out generations ago—and the Duke of Dorimare along with them.

Until the spring of his fiftieth year, Master Nathaniel Chanticleer, Mayor of Lud-in-the-Mist and High Seneschal of Dorimare, had lived a sleepy life with his only son, Ranulph. But as he grew, Ranulph was more and more fond of talking nonsense about golden cups, and snow-white ladies milking azure cows, and the sound of tinkling bridles at midnight. And when Ranulph was twelve, he got caught up with the fairies, and Nathaniel's life would never be the same.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440543388
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 01/18/2013
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 482,668
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Helen Hope Mirrlees (1887­–1978) was a British translator, poet, and novelist. She is best known for Lud-in-the-Mist, a fantasy novel and influential classic.

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Lud-in-the-Mist 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
PhoenixFalls More than 1 year ago
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.
twilightnocturne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the country of Dorimare, the capital city of Lud-In-The-Mist lay at the confluence of two rivers about ten miles from the Elfin Hills and Elfin Marches. It also lay just miles from the Debatable Hills, which to those whom believe, leads to an exotic world called Fairyland -- one where the silent people reside, and one where the living will never return from. Though this legend is weaved deeply into the folklore of Lud-In-The-Mist, it by law, has been banished from existence itself. For the discussion of Fairyland, or the discussion of Fairyfruit (a fruit said to cause madness in those who eat it), is looked down upon by the citizens of Lud-In-The-Mist; besides, by law, it doesn't exist anyway, right?Though the the town of Lud-In-The-Mist is beautifully described as being plentiful of trees, fruitful, and a great place for children and families to live and prosper, it also has it's share of unwanted problems -- the major one being quite serious: the illegal import of that non-existent fruit, Fairyfruit. And yes, while this fruit is simply deemed a ridiculous legend by law, regardless, it has been illegally smuggled into the city for years despite their (not so best) efforts to keep it out. This is when the story really heats up and leads to one of our main characters -- Master Nathaniel Chanticleer, the Mayor of Lud-In-The-Mist.Master Nathaniel has always been a rather simple but strange fellow ¿ taking joy in his every day, repetitious tasks. Though to the common eye, Nathaniel seems to be quite the ordinary guy ¿ the father of two, husband, he's always been a bit..different. As if he's continually moving through life at the beat of his own drum. Unfortunately for Nathaniel, his familiar and comforting life gets turned upside down when his Son, Ranulph Chanticleer, claims to have eaten the forbidden fruit after acting quite curious for a few days. This then leads down a strange path of twists and turns, a murder mystery, deception, and yes, the land of Faerie!Lud-In-The-Mist is a one of kind a read ¿ a pre-tolkien fantasy novel that clearly resembles the concepts of magic and fantasy that many authors work with today. From touching moments, to wondrous enchanting moments, to sad more serene ones ¿ and even to extremely humorous times, this book has something for everything. Author Hope Mirrlees does such a grand job creating a completely new and different world ¿ a world that you could swear truly exists somewhere today. A world that I would love to visit ¿ though in some ways, I feel I already have..Along with the enchanting beauty of this one-of-a-kind world that Mirrlees masterfully conjures up, her use of the English language is very nineteenth-century and adds to the whole feel of this book. The wording, the phrasing, the terms ¿ they all contribute to the majestic vibe that this writing gives off to the reader -- transforming them into a different place and time. Mirrlees's beautiful style truly shines brightly throughout, flowing from page to page almost poetically while remaining incredibly descriptive and enjoyable. Her depictions are stunningly vivid; her narration of events and places beautifully detailed. All in all, her ability to create such unique and realistic descriptions is a truly unique gift ¿ one that really isn't seen very often.Oh, and of course, we cannot forget to mention (no, never!), her unique exclamations and curses that pop up from time to time within this lovely tale ¿ curses her characters often use in stressful, shocking, or unpleasant situations. Phrases like ¿Toasted Cheese!¿ or ¿By my great aunts rump!¿ Or perhaps, ¿By the Sun, Moon, and the Stars!¿ or ¿Son of a Fairy!¿ (which is apparently quite a naughty one in the world of Lud-In-The-Mist). Though none can truly compare to my personal favorite, ¿Busty Bridgit!¿ Ah yes, I found myself chuckling several times throughout this book, and these cute little expressions truly add some very humorous and light moments to a fairly deep read
stubbyfingers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Written in the 1920's, this book is the contemporary of works such as The Lord of the Rings and it reads somewhat similarly. It often quotes made-up songs and poetry and is given to flights of fancy so far out there that I sometimes found it hard to follow. The basic premise was a good one and I enjoyed the story itself, but the characters were fairly silly and hard to sympathize with. The writing was beautiful and amazingly colorful yet I sometimes had trouble paying attention and comprehending what I was reading. I would often discover when I reached the bottom of a page that I had no idea what had just happened on that page and had to go back to reread. It was hopeless if ever I tried to read this without being able to give it my undivided attention. I liked how the story ended but it seemed a little abrupt. If you're a fun of Tolkein or of Neil Gaiman's Stardust then I'd recommend you give this a try, otherwise probably not.
thioviolight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A classic in fantasy literature, Lud-in-the-Mist is an entertaining read with a good dose of humor. It's got all the elements of a great fantasy, and has more than one story to tell. Highly recommended for lovers of the genre!
milomidnight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The slightly dotty grandmother of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell... if you liked the latter, you will almost certainly adore this too. On a random tangent, I do so wonder at the connection of the North Of England with Faerie and Magic. And as someone born and bred in the North East, but no longer resident, it adds to the sense of nostalgic magic/romance i feel for the place... I love that the North is so magical in Jonathan Strange, and was utterly delighted to discover that Northumberland was, in the past, referred to as 'the debatable lands' (as in Lud The Debatable Hills seperate Dorimare from Faerie), due to the long standing struggles over where the border between England and Scotland should lay.Lud is a wonderful, enchanting book. Your life will be richer for it...
mathegudrun on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enchanting tale for everybody. It is surprising how fresh it feels. One never has the feeling that it was written so long ago. Happy that I was pointed to it.
LastCall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is unjustly forgotten at this point. Please go read the book if you are a fan of great fiction.
mschaefer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very unusual, highly enjoyable book. Puts me in mind of the later Terry Pratchett (when soft-pedaling the farcical comedy), even if it was written decades before Pratchett was born. With an introduction by Neil Gaiman.
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