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by Owen Barfield,Marjorie Lamp Mead,Josephine Spence

Princess Violetta and Princess Gambetta were so alike in every way that no one can tell them apart until the arrival of Prince Courtesy, whose silver trumpet reveals their true differences.
Download The Silver Trumpet epub
ISBN: 0917665066
ISBN13: 978-0917665066
Category: Children
Author: Owen Barfield,Marjorie Lamp Mead,Josephine Spence
Language: English
Publisher: Bookmakers Guild (April 1, 1989)
Pages: 134 pages
ePUB size: 1489 kb
FB2 size: 1311 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 921
Other Formats: rtf doc lrf lrf

As Owen Barfield's first published book and only work of fiction, THE SILVER TRUMPET is a bit difficult to evaluate. On the face of it we have a story spanning three generations of monarchs in a kingdom the name of which we are never told but whose seat is called Mountainy Castle. The opening chapter introduces us to newborn twin princesses, a nobleman called the 'Lord High Teller of the Other from Which', an elderly woman who may or may not be a witch and may or may not be benign, a newly arrived prince from a neighboring kingdom which IS named, and the titular Silver Trumpet with remarkable power that becomes evident over time but which is never accounted for. After this things get complicated.

The best advice to readers would probably be not to judge the story too quickly. I did, and nearly abandoned it soon after that first chapter, which had struck me as too affected and silly even for children's literature. The author's reputation, however, and my longstanding interest in Inklings studies convinced me to keep at it. Even so, I set the book aside for more than a month. Upon resuming, however, I found that the writing seemed less disagreeable and the story more engaging. Then, just over a third of the way through, I was startled by the tragic death of two major characters (one with horrible slander on his memory) and later still by a prolonged psychological trauma inflicted on a very young child! If my first impression had been one of condescending fluff, I now questioned whether such dark intensity was appropriate for the age-group the book presumably targeted.

All I can say is that it ends well. True to its faerie-tale model, the resolution is sudden and fanciful, yet I found it satisfying and a worthy example of what Tolkien termed 'Eucatastrophe' -- 'a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence ... of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies ... universal final defeat.' Not all the losses, injustices, and hurts in THE SILVER TRUMPET are erased in the end; yet they do find resolution and healing. As I closed the book at last, I was glad I had stayed with it. I was also now a little sorry that Barfield did not make further excursions into this genre.
This is a straightforward review.

The Silver Trumpet was a book read to me when I was a child. 30 years later, I read it to my own children, and they loved it just as much as I did, and I found that it hadn't lost anything in the passing years.

It's an innovative fairy tale that is both silly (in a good way) and heart warming.

It's also the sort of book that will be understood by a 4-year-old, and enjoyed by a 12-year-old.
Great story, couldn't put it down. Kind of a fairy tale for both adults and children, but not for the youngest ones, for whom some parts might be too scary - e.g. an evil princess is portrayed too vividly (and I think is really "too evil") for my 6-year-old. So I'll wait a couple of years at least before reading it to her. Otherwise I love it.
Kind of depressing. There are so many negative things that happen in the book, that the one positive thing at the end hardly makes up for the bad stuff.
It's a shame that this book has gone out of print again, for I have yet to read another fairy tale that I have enjoyed more. C.S. Lewis thought highly of it, and J.R.R. Tolkien's children were completely taken by it when their father read it to them. The 1989 edition of the book has the wonderful illustrations of Josephine Spence to complement this delightful story.
This story by Owen Barfield may be called a "Children's Story" but I found it to be interesting and beneficial as an adult reader. A semi-allegory, The Silver Trumpet is full of humor and good lessons about interacting with others, making choices, and dealing with the difficult circumstances of interpersonal relationships. All of that makes it sound quite boring, but it is really a fairy tale about a knight named Prince Courtesy and his Silver Trumpet which has differing effects on people whenever it is blown. This is a top-notch story that I would recommend to anyone.