Lud-in-the-Mist (Prologue Fantasy) Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1440543388
ISBN-10: 1440543380
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hope Mirrlees (1887–1978) was an English writer and scholar. She was a friend of Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot, part of the Bloomsbury literary circle (Mirrlees's poem Paris has been called by some critics an undiscovered treasure of modernism), and a close friend and collaborator of the great classical scholar Jane Ellen Harrison. She and Harrison divided their time between England and France. She became fluent in French and Russian, and later studied Spanish. Lud-in-the-Mist is her best-known work of fantasy.


Product Details

  • File Size: 751 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Prologue Books; Reprint edition (December 18, 2012)
  • Publication Date: December 18, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007ZT1KV2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,840 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Back in August 2004, when I was preparing a review of "Lud-in-the-Mist" for Amazon, the very good news was that the book was finally back in print. In July 2012, the good news is that now it is also available in digital format from Prologue Books (across several platforms, including Nook and iBook as well as Kindle).

For me, this means having it available on a smartphone, whenever and wherever I want to read it. Yes, along with hundreds of other books (I'm afraid to count), but this is one of those that I like to read at odd moments.

"Lud-in-the-Mist" was first published, to both some incomprehension and some critical success, in the 1920s. It opens with, as an epigraph, a reflection by the author's teacher, friend and sometime-collaborator, the classicist Jane Ellen Harrison, on the otherwise inexpressible longings revealed in myth.

The setting is the land of Dorimare, which is certainly not England, but is something like it; just as the port city of Lud-in-the-Mist on the river Dawl is not exactly the port city of London-in-the-Fog on the river Thames. For one thing, England never had such remarkably *interesting* neighbors as does Dorimare -- at least not across any merely geographical border. Not that the solid, and increasingly stolid, burghers of Lud have any intention of acknowledging Fairyland or its inhabitants.

That nonsense was all done away with in a glorious (but not The Glorious) Revolution, by their brave, revered, but (now) embarrassingly enthusiastic, ancestors, who wiped out the old aristocracy, and chased the last Duke, and the Priests, off to -- well somewhere over the border. These days, the only connection allowed with -- that other place -- is the underground source of the River Dapple, which can hardly be avoided.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The oddness of this story can be detected just by checking out the main character. Most fantasy heroes are not round, stodgy, middle-aged men who are respected pillars of the community.

But Hope Mirrlees' enchanting fantasy "Lud-in-the-Mist" defies many such fantasy cliches, written as if "The Hobbit" had been spun up by Lord Dunsany. It's a sweet pastoral story that slowly blossoms out into a very unique story -- there's a little murder mystery, an amusing village of hobbity people, and a quicksilver dream of beautiful fairyland and otherworldly danger.

Fairy is forbidden in the town of Lud -- not just fairy creatures and their exquisite fruit, but mentions of them, the dead who walk with them, and the Duke Aubrey who left with them.

But all his life, the steadfastly dull Mayor Nathaniel Chanticleer has a lingering longing/fear for a strangely magical musical note. Despite all this, life remains boring and rather pleasant -- until Chanticleer's son Ranulph begins acting strangely, claiming that he's eaten fairy fruit.

After Chanticleer sends his son off to a farm for a vacation, the teenage girls at Miss Primrose's Crabapple Academy suddenly seem to go pleasantly nuts, and then race off into the hills. Life seems to seep out of the old town,and Nathaniel must connect the present crises to a past conspiracy, all of which hinges on Fairyland, fairy fruit, and the sinister doctor Endymion Leer. The journey to discover the truth will take him out of the everyday world -- and change him forever.

Haunting music, mad dancing, and ethereal meadows filled with fairy people and strange flowers. All through "Lud-in-the-Mist," there's the underlying feeling that there's a frightening, exquisite world that is barely separated from ours.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you love J R R Tolkien, if you reread "The Last Unicorn" and "The Face in the Frost" just for the words and to watch the author's weaving of them, then you will love this book. It is a painting of us that captures the poignant beauty of the everyday as we puzzle through our lives against the backdrop of the rich mysteries all around us. I read this book the first time almost 40 years ago and images and phrases from it come to mind still. It is one of those rare books that can change the way you look at the world.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book may be a good one, but it's hard to tell when there's missing or invisible words on virtually every page. I assume that either the reader app or the text conversion process just can't handle the original text's bold or italicized words - so it leaves a blank space, ironically where the MOST important word should be. You can find out what the word was, by highlighting it and seeing what comes up in the dictionary pop-up, but that's not a solution that encourages immersion in the narrative.

It wasn't expensive, but I still don't feel that I got what I paid for. I guess I'll find a cheap printed copy instead - hopefully it won't be sold as "new" despite missing pages here and there...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You could easily be forgiven for never having heard of Lud-in-the-Mist. Heck, I only picked it up on a whim, thanks to a raving cover blurb from Neil Gaiman, who recommended it as one of his all-time favorite novels. Even then, it sat unread on my Kindle for a long while until, as I was reading some articles about Susanna Clarke's masterpiece Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, I found multiple references to the book as a possible source of inspiration. And having read the book, that connection is pretty undeniable - Lud-in-the-Mist feels like a clear ancestor to Strange, a quiet, quintessentially English fantasy book about dealing with a history that we're not quite comfortable with and questioning whether it's okay to acknowledge art, music, and such "frivolous" matters in the world.

But more than that, Lud-in-the-Mist feels like a genuinely overlooked classic, a beautiful little piece of fantasy that's been ignored and forgotten for nearly a hundred years. Yes, Lud-in-the-Mist is nearly a century old, but you wouldn't know that offhand; it has a wonderfully timeless feel to it, as though it's outside of any typical signifiers of time and place. It's the tale of the titular village, where any mention of the Fairy Kingdom over the hills is verboten, where any reference to Fairy magic or efforts is among the greatest taboos, and where life is pretty simple, down-to-earth, and sensible. That is, until the children of one of the big families in town start eating fairy fruit, and a strange new dance instructor comes to town, and everything else starts getting...well, weird.

Like Strange and Norrell, Lud-in-the-Mist is as much about its world and its characters as it is any sort of story.
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