Essex Folk Tales, Jan Williams


3ish/52, 20th Jan 2014, Week 3

I haven’t been as frustrated with the style of a book in a very long time. I was looking forward to this stocking filler gift bringing me a little bit of home history in the form of mysterious tales. However, Williams seems set on first acknowledging the falsity of every tale, but then leaving some ridiculous question about the reality of them. If your study of history has called something a “cocodil” referring to a crocodile being in the waters in an area, then you can’t then suggest it is a dragon. If you state that it was common knowledge that a local genius was creating objects (like kites) as pranks, then you can’t then suggest there may be some truth to the idea of a dragon actually existing in the locality.

This is doubly frustrating as it was part of my challenge to read 52 books in 52 weeks but I could not bear to finish it and so it has only felt like a waste of time after a number of attempted sittings. I feel that Williams should either have written a book on the history of the area debunking the myths of Essex, or should have only written the tales and left the reader to wonder on their origins and truth. By mixing the two together (alongside some annoying shifts in 1st to 3rd person writing) it lost it’s charm quickly.

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