Thursday, July 26, 2012

Over Sea, Under Stone

The five books in Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence represent a powerful but uneven achievement. At their best they are magnificent: at their worst, reading them is a little like being hit over the head with a volume of folklore.

I have strong memories of the first book - Over Sea, Under Stone - being dramatised on television, but for a long time could find no reference to it. It turned out to have been broadcast under the Jackanory banner in 1969, which is odd as the show usually consisted simply of a storyteller and a book.

Over Sea, Under Stone has as much the feel of a children's holiday adventure story as of a book about the supernatural. This interview with Susan Cooper explains why this is so.

You can find several more clips, taken from the same interview, of Cooper talking about her work on Youtube.


Simon Drage said...

I think The Dark Is Rising and The Grey King were my favourites.

Anonymous said...

When I was aged 11 and off school ill (again), my mother brought home The Dark Is Rising from the library in an attempt to keep me entertained. Whether it was her own choice or the guidance of some unknown librarian I do not know, but I sent her back the following day to find Over Sea, Under Stone.

Thereafter I was a thorough nuisance at my local bookshop as I waited impatiently for the remaining volumes to be published: "There will be five books."

Looking at them now in these days of huge Potteresque doorstops I am surprised at how slim they are, and by how much I can remember of them after more than 30 years.