Monday, April 11, 2011

The House of the Glimmering Light

This is the frontispiece of 1943's The House of the Glimmering Light, set in Connel Ferry, Oban, on the west coast of Scotland. The book is very hard to find, so much so that I haven't found a single copy in all my online searches. But I did come across the stub of an article by Sheila Ray, entitled The Strange Case of the Invisible Jane Shaw, published in 2003 in the hundredth edition of Signal Approaches to Children's Books, which I had never heard of before. Sheila Ray was a librarian in the 50s and 60s and says that her library stocked Jane Shaw's books, but that the author was not "highly regarded" in her library circles. She also says that she recalls reading The House of the Glimmering Light when she was a child and it inspired her to put pen to paper herself and write a story. She was also at a conference in 2002 and met Alison Lindsay, who was launching Susan and Friends. Jane Shaw's work was "not condemned", she claims, "but was certainly not up there with Alan Garner, William Mayne... and other bright lights that began to twinkle in the late 1950s and 1960s". I'd love to read the rest of this article to find out what other information it yields about people's reactions to Jane Shaw. It's hard for me to understand how the librarians could rate the likes of Susan and Penny so low. But we're all entitled to our opinions...