Tuesday, September 11, 2007

FAW: Gerald Morris

The first Favorite Author ever! It was very difficult to decide who should be featured first. I'm actually not sure why I picked Gerald Morris. But I did.

For those of you not familiar with his work, Morris is the author of a series of retellings of Arthurian legends, commonly known as the Squire's Tales or the Squire series after the first book, Squire's Tale.

As with almost any favorite author, there are several facets of Morris' work which stand out to me. The first is probably the most important: He really does have an honest appreciation and love for his source material. His retellings somehow manage to stay Arthurian despite the blatant anachronisms. There are anachronisms all over the "original" Arthurian legends anyway, so it probably doesn't matter that much. But his characters do feel medieval, not 20th century made over, at the same time that the problems they face are very much current and real.

There are his characters, who are often brilliant. While the major figures of Arthur's world (Gawain, Arthur himself, Guinevere, Galahad, Lancelot, Merlin, Kay) appear, the main characters are usually, although not always, obscure or completely fabricated. Terence, the real hero of most several books, is both engaging and believable. Gaheris, Lynet, Luneta, Eileen, and the rest all are memorable and interesting people.

The books are also just plain funny. Ask my sister. We quote them to each other all the time, probably ad nauseum for the rest of the world. We fought over who would get to read The Quest of the Fair Unknown first. (She stole it from me. It was checked out on my card.)

And finally, while the books are definitely not preachy, they are moral. There are good guys and bad guys (a few of the classifications are surprising and most of them are not set in stone). There is a sense of fighting for something, and of a desire to find a purpose.

Highly reccomended for approximately 10 and up. I mean the up. They're aimed for children but they're definitely readable for adults as well.

Favorite Books
Squire's Tale
The Squire, His Knight, and His Lady
The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf
The Lionness and Her Knight
The Quest of the Fair Unknown

Handy Links
Short author biography
Interesting autobiographical sketch
Review of the Savage Damsel and the Dwarf

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