The Old Knowledge
& Other Strange Tales
By Rosalie Parker
“Make the reader think the evil, make him think it for himself . . .” – Henry James
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.”
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Cover art by R. B. Russell
Introduction by Glen Cavaliero
ISBN: 978-0-9566587-0-8 (hbk)