These Our Monsters

Monday 12 October 2020


YOU SHOULD REALLY GET YOUR HANDS ON THIS ANTHOLOGY, if only to read the title story, These Our Monsters by Edward Carey. This short story is so good I am considering sending a copy to my long-time-ago college English professor. 

It is written in the first person plural “we” of a small-minded catholic village recounting its run-in with goblins. The village is real and so is the story:  Woolpit, Suffolk, and the legend of the Green Children. All  the stories in the anthology are british place-based folktale retellings. This one is written like an ethnography, in a poor man's regional English. The voice is the theme, and that, in my opinion, is what makes a good story. 

These we have: Adam, Aymer, Oddo, Gilbert, Hemmet, Gerolt, Roger, Hugh, John, Ralf, Nicolas, Wilkin and Watty. These we don't: Bonnacon Basilik, Chimera, Siths, Fauns, Devils, Leucrota, Ghosts and witches folk. Or either fould things in the forest. Or neihter objects they don't obey. Screaming in the houses — that we do. But not little people that are no bigger than a conker. Trees that have voices, never. Hunchedbacked longears — that we do. Childers born with two heafs, a pig with six legs, that sort of thing — no, no we do not. 

Cover: Jean Fouquet. Hours of Étienne Chevalier (excerpt). c. 1452-1460. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 

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