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Anansi Fall 2012

Gossip from the Forest
The Tangled Roots of Our Forests and Fairytales
By (author): Sara Maitland
Sara Maitland


Granta Books



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paper over boards
Paperback , Paper over boards


General Trade
Nov 01, 2012
$29.95 CAD
No longer our product


9.2in x 6.14 x 0.9 in | 1.2 lb

Page Count:

256 pages
Granta Books
TRAVEL / Essays & Travelogues

Fairytales are one of our earliest and most vital cultural forms, and forests one of our most ancient and primal landscapes. Both evoke a similar sensation in us - we find them beautiful and magical, but also spooky, sometimes horrifying.

In this fascinating book, Maitland argues that the two forms are intimately connected: the mysterious secrets and silences, gifts and perils of the forests were both the background and the source of fairytales. Yet both forests and fairy stories are at risk and their loss deprives us of our cultural lifeblood. Maitland visits forests through the seasons, from the exquisite green of a beechwood in spring, to the muffled stillness of a snowy pine wood in winter. She camps with her son Adam, whose beautiful photographs are included in the book; she takes a barefoot walk through Epping Forest with Robert Macfarlane; she walks with a mushroom expert through an oak wood, and with a miner through the Forest of Dean. Maitland ends each chapter with a unique, imaginitive re-telling of a fairystory.

Written with Sara's wonderful clarity and conversational grace, Gossip from the Forest is a magical and unique blend of nature writing, history and imaginative fiction.

Sara Maitland is the author of numerous works of fiction, including the Somerset Maugham Award-wining Daughters of Jerusalem, and several nonfiction books about religion. Born in 1950, she studied at Oxford University and currently tutors on the Distance Learning MA in creative writing for Lancaster University.

The “Gossip” of Maitland’s title is not the “tittle-tattle” of the OED definition. Rather it is “the encouraging, private, spiritual talk that we all want in times of trouble. Stories that are not idle; tales that are not trifling.” The Grimms provided the latter, however much they have been edited towards propriety, and Maitland provides a good deal of the former. She makes her chosen forests come alive. - Tom Shippey, Times Literary Supplement

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