Alan Garner

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Treacle Walker

Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022
book | Fiction | 2021
UK & Comm excluding Canada → HarperCollins (Ed. Nicholas Pearson)

‘Ragbone! Ragbone! Any rags! Pots for rags! Donkey

A young boy, Joseph Coppock, lives alone in an old house next to a railway line above a brook and a coppice of alder trees. He has a lazy eye, reads his comics and plays with his collection of marbles, particularly his prized dobber. When, one day, a rag-and-bone man called Treacle Walker appears, who exchanges an empty jar of a cure-all medicine and a donkey stone for a pair of Joseph’s pyjamas and a lamb’s shoulder blade, a mysterious friendship develops between them.

A fusion of myth and magic and wonder and the stories we make for ourselves, from one of our greatest living writers, Treacle Walker is a remarkable exploration of the fluidity of time and its effect on an introspective boy trying to make sense of the world around him.


Claire Nozieres manages the translation rights for Treacle Walker


[A] flinty little fable about a convalescent boy visited by a rag-and-bone man, [Treacle Walker] reads like a perfect distillation of [Garner]'s long-worked themes: mythology, archaeology, childhood, the transient rhythms of vernacular speech, deep time and inner visions. 

The Guardian

Treacle Walker is a small miracle - a perfectly formed tale that stands on its own yet is always in dialogue with Garner's astonishing body of work

New Statesman

Treacle Walker is very much in Garner’s “late style” – spare and allusive (a wealth of folkloric hinterland), luminous and understated. It’s about seeing and healing; any more by way of summary would be useless.

Rowan Williams

Remarkable … a small universe absolutely charged with meaning. There’s mastery of craft, resonance and deep feeling on every one of these 150 pages.

Sam Leith, The Daily Telegraph

This seemingly brief tale is a hypnotic wonder, blurring the boundaries of time and spirit. Garner is 87 now; his latest book sparks against his earlier masterpieces, and is a glorious wonder in its own right. Here is real magic between hard covers.

Erica Wagner

A phenomenal late fable ... [a] playful, moving and wholly remarkable work.

Justine Jordan, The Guardian

Savour his extremely short new book by reading it aloud, rolling your tongue around its knobbly vocabulary…this inscrutable tale defies summary – it sits like a stone in your hand, to be felt as much as read.

Daily Mail

Treacle Walker [crams] into its 150-odd pages more ideas and imagination than most authors manage in their whole careers.

Alex Preston, The Observer