Tag: Joan Aiken

Mortimer’s Cross

Mortimer’s Cross by Joan Aiken (Harper & Row, 1983) audiobook read by Judy Bennett (Bolinda, 2015) [as part of the 3-in-1 collection ‘Mortimer’s Cross’] A lively middle-grade adventure, Dahl-like in tone but with a more adult vocabulary suggestive of Mortimer’s origins (being read aloud on Jackanory). Bennett’s enthusiastically British- and Welsh-accented audiobook narration does capture the spirit, but it’s a…

A Necklace of Raindrops

A Necklace of Raindrops by Joan Aiken (Doubleday, 1968); audiobook read by Lizza Aiken (ABC Audio, 2016) A collection of short stories for very young children. Aiken employs the same sort of text repetitions often seen in picture books, and structures her tales around wondrous impossibilities strung from matter-of-fact child logic. Lizza Aiken’s narration captures the dreamy storytelling essence.

A Foot in the Grave

A Foot in the Grave by Joan Aiken (Jonathan Cape, 1989); audiobook read by Melissa Exelberth (Bolinda, 2015) These supernatural stories breeze along, effortlessly conjuring character and mood; yet their conclusions invariably fail to shock, spook or satisfy. The let-downs are palpable! Aiken is like a pole-vaulter who runs in beautifully, soars to great heights but always clips the bar.…

The People in the Castle

The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories by Joan Aiken (Small Beer Press, 2016) This posthumous collection spans thirty-five years of Joan Aiken’s prolific career. The stories, though frequently lacking in closure, are beautifully written, with rich, dark ideas and a wondrous touch of fairy tale logic. Aiken’s characterisation of people (and notably, animals) is exquisite.