Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Meeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland


My husband always chides me for not reading more non-fiction. He loves reading books about people and places and events in history. I prefer to use my reading time to escape into other worlds and faraway times and places.

I found a way that I can "have my cake and eat it too." As a record of folklore, Meeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland is classified as non-fiction, but in its compulsive readibility it reads like fiction. Irish storyteller and folklorist Eddie Lenihan has traveled through parts of Ireland, collecting stories of the Good People from old-timers before these stories disappear completely in the modernization of Ireland.

The stories themselves are a fascinating glimpse into faerie folklore and it's interesting to see the roots of many modern fantasy works. They range from the consequences of cutting down a faerie bush or building a house on a fairy road, to humans "asked" to referee fairy sporting matches. But the stories are also a portrait of a way of life that is disappearing. Lenihan and co-editor Carolyn Eve Green did a good job at capturing the authentic voices of the storytellers.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in faerie folklore.
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