Mar. 27th, 2011

joysilence: (Getting back to my roots HARHAR *canned)
[personal profile] joysilence
In my last post I looked at a pagan horror novel nearly a century old. But who are the big names in pagan and sylvan horror today? With this question in mind I recently purchased the anthology The Green Man edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. If you're puzzled by the apparently phallocratic title, I should perhaps explain that the "Green Man" is a recurring character in British folklore and folk art that has manifested in many different avatars over the centuries. The green man is characteristically portrayed as a face made of leaves and branches, with leaves and plant life pouring out of its mouth. A famous example of these tree-faced fellows is the sculpture of Baphomet in the old Templar church at Garside on the Welsh border. The church and its leafy denizen even starred in a Phil Rickman novel, The Origin of Sin, and were a crucial part of the novel's success. So I was very keen to read an anthology of new tales and poetry about this verdant gentleman.

Echoing Green )

In short, The Green Man is a great idea poorly executed. There is far too much emphasis on the fairytale (despite Datlow having already pumped out several fairy-themed anthologies!) and many of the stories are unforgivably childish, even they are written as YA fiction. It was a disappointing read, especially since the book is absolutely stunning to look at. £10 gets you a hardback with gorgeous jacket artwork and charming original line drawings at the head of each story, all by Charles Vess. The paper is unusually lovely to handle and the layout is exquisite. I wouldn't recommend The Green Man to the general horror fan, but if you enjoy the fairy tale format or perhaps have young children of your own, then it might be worth purchasing. And one thing's certain, it'll look great on your shelf!


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