The Talisman

The Talisman

Book - 1984
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Publisher: New York, NY : Viking Penguin, 1984.
ISBN: 9780345447234
Branch Call Number: +F KIN
Additional Contributors: Straub, Peter


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Feb 19, 2018

<i>The Talisman</i> is widely regarded as a classic dark fantasy novel. For years I had it confused with <i>Eyes Of The Dragon</i>, but on finding out my error I decided I needed to rectify my mistake and read it at once. I’m glad I did, even though I didn’t care for it as much as many of my friends did.

I think the first thing to note is that the main character is a 12-year-old boy. Many of the people who adore this book beyond measure are male, and while I normally try to ignore that in this case for some reason I couldn’t. It doesn’t make any sense, in that there are no real sexual coming-of-age scenes or other strong pointers to gender, and yet there was a constant pulse of “boy…boy…boy” in the back of my head. I actually found myself humming the a-ha song “Living a Boy’s Adventure Tale” while reading.

Next, I want to note this is very much a fable. None of these characters are meant to be fully plausible, fleshed-out people. Straub and King are telling a fairy tale set partly in the 1970s/80s USA, partly, well, Elsewhere. There is a lovely Queen, terrible overseers, a dark and evil Regent-equivalent - just expect that and be comfortable with it.

Unlike a children’s fable (at least the bowdlerized versions to which we’re accustomed), though, the writers are not afraid to talk about hard issues. Just like the original Grimm tales, there is blood and other bodily fluids aplenty. Death is not clean for anyone. Kidnappings and rapes are mentioned casually, happen casually.

I thought the cross-country trip was a bit repetitive in places, but I did enjoy it as a rule. Bringing in the character of Wolf certainly helped, and then it bogs down a bit again in Illinois. But by and large, this is definitely a worthwhile read. It harks back to the way the original Grimm tales sounded, with a lot of modern setting to understand and fantasy to enjoy. Four of five stars.

Feb 24, 2014

Read Black house the 2nd book

Jul 03, 2013

Amazing book.

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Aug 19, 2014

Rorozoro12 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jun 21, 2014

ianwilliams_0 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over


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