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The Old Knowledge

by

Rosalie Parker

 

This first collection of tales by Rosalie Parker contains eight stories that explore the uncanny in the modern world. As Glen Cavaliero observes in his introduction, 'like all good stories of the preternatural, these in The Old Knowledge have a subversive effect.' In them, 'the world of logical, predictable reality is seen to be at risk from rejected modes of knowledge which can thwart the materialist and victimise those innocents who stumble into another order of reality.'

 

In 'The Rain', Geraldine heads to the North for a holiday she hopes will provide a welcome break from her busy city life, only to suffer a complicated and enigmatic distortion of her usual world-view. The narrator of 'In the Garden' strays into new pastures while explaining her theory of gardening. In 'Chanctonbury Ring', the well-meaning protagonist, helping a lady in distress, gets rather more than he bargained for. The temporary schoolteacher in 'The Supply-Teacher' elicits altruism from her class, whilst, in 'The Old Knowledge', a group of archaeologists called in to excavate a prehistoric round barrow have to negotiate local interventions. In 'The Cook's Story' a Gothic country house provides the setting for a modern tale of mystery.

 

Do not expect blood-and-guts, wraiths or revenants: these stories hold a different kind of terror. 'Their unostentatious magic is of an insidious kind; and like the protagonist of the title story, is liable to exert itself in disconcerting ways.'

 

Contents: 'Introduction' by Glen Cavaliero, 'The Rain', 'Spirit Solutions', 'In the Garden', 'Chanctonbury Ring', 'The Supply Teacher', 'The Old Knowledge', 'The Cook's Story', 'The Picture', 'Acknowledgements'

 

Available in hardback from the The Swan River Press, it is offered here as an ebook only.

 

Reviews:

'... straightforward, unassuming prose belies a keen psychological insight. Old knowledge is never without its secrets and mysteries, and neither is The Old Knowledge.' The Stars at Noonday

'The stories to be found in this slim volume are chilling to be sure, and engrossing in every way. But there's a bigger picture than just the stories themselves. These stories take us not to a different world, but a different vision of this world.' Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column

'. . . a beautifully produced collection of nine stories by Rosalie Parker, in which themes of ancient knowledge intrud[e] into the modern world. . .  My favourite out of all that’s on offer, there’s a delightful ambiguity to ‘The Cook’s Story’ . . . The atmosphere of a country house and the life of wealthy people are brought to vivid life . . . with a sense of the madness and alienation that’s bubbling away beneath the surface and just waiting to explode.'  Peter Tennant, Black Static

'The Old Knowledge is perfect reading for a winter's afternoon when the light is beginning to fail. Curl up by the fire in your holiday cottage, open a good bottle of red, and enjoy.' Katherine Haynes, Ghostly Company Newsletter

'Well crafted prose hinting in soft tones at the darker side of reality.' Mario Guslandi at The Short Review.

'Parker shows considerable skill at creating dramatic tension and moods of menace that will appeal to fans of subtly told tales of the macabre.' Publishers Weekly

'This book, despite its disarmingly simple pure prose style and traditional-seeming supernatural plots, is possibly more intriguing than many a book with dense textured styles and ostensibly complicated plots. An eye-opener for me.' D.F. Lewis, My Last Balcony: Real-Time Reviews

'With a clear descent from the school of classic ghost stories these tales are another branch of the evolutionary tree for the ghostly weird tale, exploring modern relationships and feelings in a timeless style.' The Black Abyss

 

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