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Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander
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Taran Wanderer (original 1967; edition 1980)

by Lloyd Alexander

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,673532,136 (4.08)1 / 164
Member:Jenson_AKA_DL
Title:Taran Wanderer
Authors:Lloyd Alexander
Info:Dell Publishing (1980), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:fantasy, ya, owned

Work details

Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander (1967)

  1. 00
    Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson (bertilak)
    bertilak: This is a stretch, but both books are about a young man repeatedly failing, yet learning and making friends while doing so.
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In which Taran must lose himself to find himself...

The most literary of the series, Taran Wanderer is probably my favourite thus far. Alexander seems to have got all his Tolkien ambition out of his system, and this book retreats back into a lovely, picaresque character study.

While several of the main characters return, many - including a couple of notable omissions - get a rest, which allows the format to focus on Taran's development. Here, he surpasses so many young orphan boys of fantasy lore, establishing a quest to genuinely find himself, whatever the answer may be. Along the way, he encounters numerous paragons of evil, of treachery, of cowardice, self-deceit, hypocrisy, and vapidity. At the same time, he meets people completely contented with their lot, and attempts to find his own place in the world.

There's not as much outright comedy in this book, although there are many moments of truth that earn a warm, knowing smile. And, along with the bard and the Fair Folk, Gurgi provides more than his fair share of joys. Is there any sight more beautiful in this series than that of Gurgi, perfectly cheerful, at the head of a small army of sheep? Adorable.

I'll be interested to see how Alexander ties things up in the final book, but certainly Taran Wanderer is an admirable continuation of the story. ( )
2 vote therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
My memory was that this was my favorite book of the series, and the audiobook did not disappoint. Taran is at his best when he is separated from his more able companions; his weakness and inexperience made him easy for me to identify with as a kid, and as an adult I find it all the more appealing. While Gwydion and to a lesser extent Eilonwy are both Mary Sues, Taran comes more slowly to find his defining characteristic. Unusual in fantasy lit, Taran is repeatedly bested in battle. The part of the book I remembered most clearly was the time he spends among the common folk learning their trades. It is poignant and grounding as an introduction a side of the world rarely seen in fantasy and especially in young adult fantasy. And yet it is just fantastic enough that the young man would show quick aptitude for such diverse tasks that in my memory it shines as the best part of the series; I was surprised on this re-read to find what a short chapter of the novel it was. ( )
1 vote jscape2000 | Jan 3, 2018 |
My favorite of the series. It's just so rich and poignant, an entirely different tone from most YA novels. ( )
1 vote jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
The fourth book in the Chronicles of Prydain, Taran Wanderer is a departure from the previous books. Eilonwy doesn't appear in this book and there is no set adventure. Instead, we follow Taran as he tries to discover who his parents were. He has many adventures along the way, some good and some bad.

Although different from the other books in the series, Taran Wanderer actually sets the stage for the fifth book. I really enjoyed this book. This book is quieter than the rest of the series. Taran is the only constant as he searches the entire breadth of Prydain for his parents. Eilonwy is only present in Taran’s thoughts and Ffleweddur only appears in different scenes. Gurgi is never far from his master, but this is truly Taran’s story.
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1 vote aharey | Nov 30, 2016 |
First read 30 odd years ago, rereading again because this series is an absolute joy. ( )
  pieandsunshine | Aug 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lloyd Alexanderprimary authorall editionscalculated
Langton, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, Jody A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ness, EvalineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pilhjerta, Ritva-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Wayfarers still journeying, for Wanderers at rest
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This fourth chronicle of Prydain begins as a gallant, high-hearted quest, which soon becomes more intense and perhaps more essentially heroic than the preceding adventures. For here, Taran comes to grips with a merciless opponent: the truth about himself. No longer as Taran Assistant Pig-Keeper but as Taran Wanderer, he learns to reshape his life out of his own inner resources; for there must not only be an end to childhood but also a beginning of manhood. This is meant to be a serious tale—in the way that all humor is serious and all fantasy true—and if there is no conventionally happy ending in fairy-tale terms, there is still a most hopeful ending in human terms. [from the "Author's Note"]
It was full springtime, with promise of the richest summer the farm had ever seen. The orchard was white with fragrant blossoms; the newly planted fields lay light as green mist. Yet the sights and scents gave Taran little joy. To him, Cael Dallben was empty. Though he helped Coll with the weeding and cultivating, and tended the white pig, Hen Wen, with as much care as ever, he went about his tasks distractedly. One thought alone was in his mind. [from chapter 1, "Who Am I?"]
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Book description
Taran, the assistant pig-keeper who wants to be a hero, goes questing for knowledge of his parentage, hoping that his journey will ennoble him in the eyes of Eilonwy, the princess with the red-gold hair. Accompanied by several loyal friends, Taran begins his search when three wily enchantresses of the Marshes of Morva send him to consult the Mirror of Llunet for the answers he is seeking, cryptically promising that "the finding takes no more than the looking."

During his adventures he meets Craddoc, the shepherd, and the common people of Prydain, whom he comes to respect and admire. With their help, he continues his mission to learn the secret of the Mirror and the truth about himself.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805080511, Paperback)

The Newbery-winning fantasy series now available in gorgeous new paperback editions!

Since The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran is joined by an engaging cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli--all of whom have become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain. Released over a period of five years, Lloyd Alexander's beautifully written tales not only captured children's imaginations but also garnered the highest critical praise.

The Black Cauldron was a Newbery Honor Book, and the final volume in the chronicles, The High King, crowned the series by winning the Newbery Medal for "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."

Henry Holt is proud to present this classic series in a new, redesigned paperback format. The jackets feature stunning art by acclaimed fantasy artist David Wyatt, giving the books a fresh look for today's generation of young fantasy lovers. The companion book of short stories, The Foundling is also available in paperback at this time.

In their more than thirty years in print, the Chronicles of Prydain have become the standard of excellence in fantasy literature for children.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:36 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The fourth book of the Prydain cycle tells of the adventures that befell Taran when he went in search of his birthright and the truth about himself.

(summary from another edition)

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