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.
"If you are to appear before the High King in his court, you'd better have the proper finery," his mother said craftily. "Let me see what I can do." So she cut a tabard out of old sackcloth and a rough pair of buskins out of calf-skin. "And you must have a plume, such as knights wear on their helmets," she said, threading the stems of holly leaves through the crown of his cowl so that he looked like a savage green man from the woods.
And so, Parzival arrives at King Arthur's court: a holy fool whom all the knights in that glittering company will mock.'
Yet in a world ravaged by war, a world in which men are ruled by fear, hatred and distrust, there is a need for a champion who is innocent of heart and pure of spirit. Arthur's knights are proud and corrupt: none has yet succeeded in finding the Grail, the stone of healing which has the power to make life whole again. But Parzival's destiny may prove greater than that of any other knight…
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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 BrottonReview:
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.”
‘Lindsay Clarke is surely right in seeing Parzival as having urgent relevance for our time .. exceptional’
John Moat, poet
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Book Description Voyager, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007109296
Book Description Voyager, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110007109296