Parzival and the Stone from Heaven: A grail romance retold for our time

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9780007108138: Parzival and the Stone from Heaven: A grail romance retold for our time

A wonderful retelling of the legendary story of Parzival, the knight who is given the task of finding the Holy Grail. In the same vein as Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf but written as magically as The Alchemist.

The story of Parzival’s quest for the Holy Grail, and his otherwordly meeting with the Fisher King, has continued to fascinate writers and artists since it was written in the early 13th century. It has provided the inspiration for works ranging from Wagner's opera to the Star Wars trilogy.

Yet the density and complexity of the medieval poem make it almost impenetrable to a wide readership. Now Lindsay Clarke has written this lively, accessible and inspirational version in a style attractive both to adults and older children. It stays faithful to the spirit of the original while highlighting the relevance of its themes to current issues.

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Review:

Lindsay Clarke's Parzival and the Stone from Heaven is a hypnotic retelling of the medieval romance of the quest for the Holy Grail. However, Clarke's book is not a novel in the conventional sense, but a free adaptation of Wolfram von Eschenbach's 13th-century story Parzival.

Drawing on Eschenbach, Clarke recounts the adventures of the royal-born Parzival, whose name means, "to pierce through the middle". Brought up by a mother crazed with grief at the death of her chivalrous husband on the battlefield, Parzival is initially ignorant of his destiny as a knight who must search for the Holy Grail and unite it with the earth. As Parzival's swashbuckling adventures lead him from ignorance and wounding to insight and healing, he meets King Arthur, the Gawain Knight and the mysterious Fisherman, the failed guardian of the Grail.

Clarke takes many liberties with Eschenbach's original, but tells a well-paced story, one whose characters are more archetype than individual. This is why, for Clarke, the story is universal and remains "a contemporary story and a salutary myth for our own troubled and exhilarating times". --Jerry Brotton

Review:

Praise for Lindsay Clarke's Chymical Wedding:

‘I'm awed by the web you've spun. Not only the beautiful complexities of it but the fine texture of the threads … Full of wise things’
Ted Hughes
‘This dazzling novel left me stunned … a modern masterpiece’
Val Hennessy, Daily Mail
‘A splendid writer – a stylish, gripping story of alchemy across the ages’
Sunday Express

Praise for ‘Parzival’:

“As soon as I began to read I was entranced and enthralled… In Clarke’s Parzival, action is compulsively cryptic and elliptical, as if the tale told itself. … You will not want to reach the equivalent of page 180 but when you do, you will wander back and begin again.” The Independent on Sunday

“…an appealing retelling of one of the West’s primary myths.” The Times Literary Supplement

“In adapting this story for a modern-day audience, Clarke has unearthed a gem.” The Saturday Times Magazine

“…a masterly, accessible and inspirational retelling of the legend.” Publishing News

`With his luminous retelling of the story of Parzival and his healing of the Fisher King, Lindsay Clarke has reanimated the great theme of the Grail Quest … a magical poem of a book’ Anne Baring, author of The Myth of the Goddess

‘Compelling and poetic … you can’t put it down’
Jay Ramsay, author, poet and therapist

‘Lindsay Clarke is surely right in seeing Parzival as having urgent relevance for our time … exceptional’ John Moat, poet

‘absolutely brilliant – a very inspirational read’ Suzi Harvey, author of Sun Signs, Moon Signs

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Clarke, Lindsay
Published by Thorsons (2001)
ISBN 10: 0007108133 ISBN 13: 9780007108138
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ISBN 10: 0007108133 ISBN 13: 9780007108138
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