City of Gold

city-of-Gold-001-724x1024

CARNEGIE MEDAL WINNER – 1980

City of Gold: and other stories from the Old Testament

retold by Peter Dickinson

illustrated by Michael Foreman

Age: 11+

Interests: bible, religion, history

Victor Gollancz Ltd: 1980

180 pp., 33 stories

Also by this author:  Tulku, The Seventh Raven, Eva, A Bone from a Dry Sea, Shadow of a Hero, Chance Luck and Destiny, The Flight of Dragons

Also by this illustrator: War Boy: A Country Childhood, Long Neck and Thunder Foot, Sleeping Beauty and Other Favourite Fairy Tales

An innovative retelling of Old Testament stories. The author has reimagined each story in the oral tradition, retold by various storytellers – old men, merchants, farmers, soldiers, gypsies – each story being coloured and bent to the narrator’s situation and viewpoint. Some of the tellers are Christians, many are not. Most are the unimportant everymen of history… lowly footsoldiers on the losing side of a war, king’s servants, village women, shepherds, the outcasts and the persecuted. It’s a really interesting approach, and reveals much about how ancient history has been passed on through generations. It also reflects how a story can change depending upon who is doing the telling. Each tale has great vigour and charm, and the narrators certainly don’t shy away from the more violent and gruesome aspects.

The only thing that makes these stories hard to read is the complexity of the changing narrative voices; it may be difficult for younger readers to figure out what’s going on. Even so, the stories are appealing and involving, presented as they are in informal, conversational speech. Foreman’s illustrations are wonderful too – moody, dark and surreal.

A book that retells old Bible stories in a very unusual way, for those interested in the bible or anyone who just likes a good yarn.

(no longer in print: used copies available via amazon.com)

Michael Foreman illustration from City of Gold

Michael Foreman illustration from City of Gold

Michael Foreman illustration from City of Gold

Michael Foreman illustration from City of Gold

Michael Foreman illustration from City of Gold

Michael Foreman illustration from City of Gold

Michael Foreman illustration from City of Gold

Michael Foreman illustration from City of Gold

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.