Philip Pullman, Master Storyteller publishedClaire Squires of the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies publishes this week her book Philip Pullman, Master Storyteller: A Guide to the Worlds of His Dark Materials. The book, published by Continuum, is the first comprehensive and authoritative study of the great writer. Importantly, the book informs readers about the contexts, sources and influences behind the trilogy, and examines the controversies and debates that have surrounded the trilogy and its creator, since its publication. This book focuses on Pullman's central achievement with His Dark Materials, but it also considers his entire oeuvre.
Sally Hughes reviews the book:
'As anyone who has read it knows, Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is not a story just for children. The wonderfully drawn main characters, their supporting cast, the aligned and parallel worlds and the physics and theology of Dust bind us closely within the narrative which can be taken at many levels. It is exactly this complexity which makes Claire's book Philip Pullman, Master Storyteller: A Guide to the Worlds of His Dark Materials such a delight to read. Much of the work in understanding the story and the characters is done for us. She makes the trilogy clearer and in providing these insights allow us to rediscover actions and aspects we have overlooked in our desire to know what happens.
'Claire has written before on Pullman but this book both clarifies and questions the story telling techniques of the author. There is no question in the title; Claire is sure, as are most of us, that Pullman is a master story teller, but her examination of his ‘gaps and silences' makes interesting reading. She is not uncritical when looking at the loose ends that the story fails to tie and paradox of allowing only one window left open. The book also provides commentary on other books from the world of Dust, Pullman's writing for adults and a useful bibliography showing the extent of his writing and other books on him and his work.
'This is not a stocking filler guide for children but a mature consideration of one of Britain's best story tellers. It is impossible to read the trilogy and not be affected by it. Whether you were enthralled or infuriated, Claire's guide to the stories makes enjoyable and interesting reading.'