If I had to choose two ‘Books of the Year’ that would also make good Christmas presents – one fiction and one non-fiction – I would go for L.R.Frederick’s fantastic debut novel Farundell and Prince Charles’ Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World.
As presents they fulfil the requirements of being substantial hard-cover books with beautiful dust-jackets, but its their content that makes me recommend them. Prince Charles’ book at last lays bare his vision and philosophy. Anyone with any nouse has always known that the caricature of him as away-with the-fairies (chatting to his flowers at High Grove) was gutter press nonsense and that his caring and thoughtful approach to a wide range of issues makes him more in tune with the problems of the contemporary world than most of the ‘Establishment’, but now we can appreciate the depth of his understanding and its rootedness in a fundamentally spiritual understanding of the Universe.
The book is beautifully illustrated, and in the chapter entitled ‘The Golden Thread’ you will see the familiar photograph of the entrance to New Grange alongside the authors’ (HRH is aided by Tony Juniper and Ian Skelly) discussions on sacred geometry and the ‘grammar of harmony’. How refreshing it is to read a book that can combine spiritual insights with a detailed understanding of modern dilemmas AND ideas for getting us out of the mess we’ve created. Buy this book for its physical beauty, but also for its vision of life and hope that is rooted in a fierce realism and created by a team who don’t just talk about these things but actually initiate projects that make a difference. Here’s a short video on the book:
In the chapter I mentioned, Charles quotes from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus and that provides us with a link to the other Book of the Year: Farundell. In this haunting story (part of a series with more to come) we find ourselves in a country house in Oxfordshire, close to the Otherworld, with quotations from the Divine Pymander of Hermes Trismegistus leading us towards mysteries we can only half discern. Writer John Matthews wrote of the book: “It’s not often one comes across writing this good. This assured. This tempestuous. This profound. This moving… It makes me, as a writer, want to write better… Not since Lawrence Durrell have I read prose so complete, so magical and so precise in its execution. The book is full of wisdom, love, horror, wonder and an extraordinary understanding of what it means to be human. I can’t recommend it too strongly. Everyone should be made to read it. If you do, and if you don’t understand, … read it again. It will change you and put you in touch with the world and with everything. I don’t know how the author got to write this well, or to be this wise, but I applaud it and I cannot wait for her next book.”
Here’s a 56 second video clip on it: