October 31, 2011

It's Always Then. It's Never Now.

Neil Gaiman narrates the first chapter of The Thirteen Clocks for Barnes and Noble.  The Thirteen Clocks is probably Thurber's creepiest work (and great fun, too!). In the new edition published by NYRB a couple years ago, Gaiman wrote the introduction, admitting it was one of his very favorite books: "It's one of the great kids' books of the last century. It may be the best thing Thurber ever wrote. It's certainly the most fun that anybody can have reading anything aloud."

The title of this post comes from a description of the Duke's palace, where time has literally stopped at ten minutes to five. Our hero, a mysterious prince, comes to the Duke's freezing cold palace to try to win the Princess Saralinda's hand, and the Duke sets for him an impossible task.  It is a fable, a mystery, and adventure.  It is about love and about language and about goodness and hard work.    It is macabre, but terribly funny, too.  A true modern fairy-tale.

This animated version is quite dark, and the music really got under my skin, so I wouldn't recommend showing it to kids.  The book, however, could be read by, I'd say, ages 10+.  Read it yourself and decide.  It is a Perry Family favorite (though, personally, I love The Wonderful O quite a bit more).

Happy Halloween!

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