A Pocketful of Crows

Review From User :

Generally, I prefer my books to be less whimsical and involve at least some brain action so I believed this would not merit an outstanding grade. The poetic treatment of this stupid, stupid love story wrapped with myth and fairy tale won me over: 5 entangling shining stars.

Let us all be true to ourselves!

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The moon is ringed with silver - a sign. The air is sweet as summertime. (c)
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The year it turns, and turns, and turns. Winter to summer, darkness to light, turning the world like wood on a lathe, shaping the months and the seasons. (c)
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I am brown, and brisk, and wild. I hunt with the owl, and dance with the hare, and swim with the trout and the otter. (c)
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Naked, I turn in the firelight; moon-silver, fire-golden. (c)
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And now I can hear the sounds of the night: the lapping at the water's edge; the squeak of a mouse in the long grass; the calling of owls in the branches. I can hear the tick-tick-ticking of a death-watch beetle in a beam over half a mile away; I can catch the sleepy scent of lilacs on the common. (c)
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The vixen's fur is warm and thick; I am no longer shivering. For a time I run alongside her, feeling her strength and the fierce joy of hunting under a blue milk moon, with the promise of blood in the air and summer no more than a heartbeat away. Then, in a moment, we are one. (c)
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Wild creatures feel hunger differently. My own is deep as wintertime; frugal as old age. The vixen's is joyous; exuberant; sniffing for frogs under the turf; snapping at moths in the shining air. (c)
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I am brown, and brisk, and wild. I hunt with the owl, and dance with the hare, and swim with the trout and the otter. ()
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My people are the wolves, the hare, the wild bees in the forest. My people are the birch trees, the roe deer, and the otter. My people are the travelling folk that travel on the campfire smoke, and go into the fox, the wolf, the badger and the weasel. And I am not afraid. (c)
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'Do you have a name' he says.
Of course not. Names are for tame folk. Names are for those who are afraid of our kind of freedom. ...
I have been every bird, every beast, every insect you can name. And so I have no name of my own, and cannot be tamed or commanded. (c)
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No one sees me, as a rule. Even when I show myself, no one really sees me. (c)
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What sickness is this Why do I not take pleasure in my freedom The air is bright; the sky is blue; the wind is filled with promise. Why then do I feel so unlike myself, so restless and strange, so incomplete Why then do I ache, and fret, and pine, and rage, and question (c)
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I heard it from a white-headed crow, who heard it from a black sheep, who heard it from a tabby cat that lives in a dry-moated castle. (c)
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The travelling folk have no castles, no wealth. We do not hold lands or territories. Instead we have the mountains, the sea, the lakes and the moors and the rivers. This is our inheritance. (c)
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And he will never once be mine, or look at me with love in his eyes, for who could love a brown girl who never stays in her own skin (c)
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Such a stone is a powerful charm, and looking through the hole in its heart by the light of a tallow candle, you can see as far as the ocean - even, perhaps, through castle walls. (c)
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What a strange thing it must be, to be named. What a strange and terrible thing. No man will ever name me, not as a cat, and not as myself. ...
A named thing is a tamed thing. ... A named thing has a master. (c)
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I shall sleep on your pillow, and purr, until you are mine for ever. (c)
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Just for today, it feels good to be tame, and besides, who else but I need know (c)
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I sleep, and by your side I dream of things I never knew I wanted... (c)
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And now I know that this feeling is not a curse, or a spell, or a dream. It is as real as the starry sky, and the hot blood of the rat I caught last night in the castle kitchens. This feeling, at once so strong and so sweet; so real, and yet insubstantial. I have been warned against it, and yet it does not seem so dangerous. (c)
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I shall go into a cat, and sleep on his pillow all night long. Not because he is my love, but because I do as I please, and no one tells me what to do. (c)
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Today I am a skylark, tumbling high among the clouds, flinging my song against the peaks, dancing with the rainbows. (c)
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I have no need of silks and furs. I have no need of servants. I have the silk of the dragonfly's wing, the snowy coat of the winter hare. I have the gold of the morning sun, the colours of the Northlights. And I can go into a horse, and run across the marshlands, or travel with the wild geese as they fly towards the sun- (c)
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We do not try to change ourselves into what we should not be. (c)
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And William loves the fine black silk that lines my legs and armpits, and the roundness of my breasts, and the soft broad curve of my hip, and would not see me change a thing. (c)
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We could have the moors, and the lakes, and the open skies, and the mountains. We could live in the forest, alone, and be everything to each other. (c)
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And as the rose month reaches its peak, and midsummer is upon us, I know that our joy will grow and grow, and fill the earth with roses. (c)
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Sing a song of starlight,
A pocketful of crows.
See the bonny brown girl
In her borrowed clothes.
See her in a vixen,
See her in a hare,
See her in her true love's arms,
at sweet Midsummer's fair. (c)
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I know his heart, as he knows mine.
I need no charm to capture him; no adder-stone to watch him by. (c)
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Our love is like the mountains. Our love is like the stormy sea. Our love is like the midnight sky. ...But I miss the peaks and the cold black lake, and the forest, and the islands. I miss the open sky, and the sun, and the song of the morning in my throat. (c)
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My people were here when these mountains were ice, and these valleys were nothing but streamlets running down from the glacier. (c)
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And now, for the first time, I have a name. Malmuira. Dark Lady. I wear it like a golden crown. I wear it like a collar. ...
I have a name. It binds me. I am no longer a child of the world, no longer one of the travelling folk, but a named thing. (c)
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I wish I could tell him how I feel. But that would mean giving away secrets that are not mine to give. I cannot betray my heart, my blood. The travelling folk may have disowned me, but they are still my people. (c)
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The prince should have recognised his love whatever she was wearing. ...
And why did the princess not speak out when the prince went looking for her Why did she lurk in the kitchens, waiting to be saved Why could she not save herself ...
And why would one of the Faërie have given her three wishes And why would she waste them on a dress, some dancing shoes and a coach and four (c)
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Sleep well, love, and dream of me. And know that, if I were to live for a thousand years, there would still not be enough nights in which to dream of you. (c)
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Our love is as strong as the mountains, as endless as the oceans. (c)
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One thing at a time. Wisdom must always be paid for. (c)
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And then I lay down in the ferns and grass that grow around my hut, and watched the fragments of sky through the trees, and wondered how the sun still shone when my light had gone out for ever. ... Now I am as old as Old Age, and colder than ice, and harder than stone. (c)
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And I shall dance barefoot on your grave, and sing like a lark with the joy of it, and soar into the stormy sky, and fill my throat with lightning. (c)
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We are the travelling folk. We live. And we will live for ever. (c)
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We may look like beggars by day, but on this night, we are kings and queens, and the world is our kingdom, our playground the night, and the starry night our canopy. (c)
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Most people die an hour before dawn. It is the point of least resistance to the pull of the darkness. An hour before dawn, you can see the pale seam of the night sky starting to unravel: you can hear the birds as they awaken; there is hope. And that is the moment at which they fade, the old ones and the babes-in-arms, the ones that slip gently into the dark and those who struggle till the end. (c)
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The two wolves come to me every night. Together, we sleep in safety. ... The wolves bring me food from their hunt, and sleep beside me, and give me strength, but I still miss my freedom. (c)
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And though I still cannot travel, I can sometimes forget who I am, and dream that I am one of them, and in dreaming grow stronger. (c)
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But when one has had so little love, even table scraps may serve. (c)
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The time between Christmas and the New Year is a dark, uncertain time: a time when dogs howl, witches fly, and the dead watch the living. (c)
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What's a life or two, between friends (c)
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'Is it so very obvious'
Everything is very obvious when you're as old as I am (c)
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I know it is a lie, and yet my heart will not believe it so. Instead it dances like a star, and leaps like a salmon, and aches like a stone, and there is nothing I can do to still its wild and hopeful song. (c)
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We take what we must, and never look back, and scatter our seeds to the four winds, and into the mountains, and over the sea, and all across the starry sky. (c)
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I want to tell her the child still lives, safe in the arms of the travelling folk. Nameless, it will always be wild, and fly with the crow and the magpie. Soulless, it will never die, but go into the world again, until the world is ended. (c)
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And the laughter was like a giant wave that swept me into the primrose sky, so that I was thistledown, and fireworks, and starlight. (c)
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You called me ugly, and a slut. You lied and you betrayed me. Worse than that, you named me. (c)
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He would have known and loved me wherever I chose to travel, and he would have wanted to be with me, whatever the cost to his heart or soul. (c)
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Now I am in everything. Now I am the wind, the rain, the love-knots on the hawthorn tree. (c)
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I have been tame, and I have been wild. And I swear I will never again be tame, or try to be like one of the Folk, or turn away from the ancient ways of the travelling people. (c)
Q:
'Well met, sister. Blessed be.' (c)


I am as brown as brown can be,
And my eyes as black as sloe;
I am as brisk as brisk can be,
And wild as forest doe.
(The Child Ballads, 295)

So begins a beautiful tale of love, loss and revenge. Following the seasons, A Pocketful of Crows balances youth and age, wisdom and passion and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl.

Only love could draw her into the world of named, tamed things. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape.

Beautifully illustrated by (TBC), this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.

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