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The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston

August 16th, 2019

I have written several times here about the extraordinary Talliston House and Gardens, a once ordinary three bedroom council house that was transformed into the most magical space by author John Tarrow. John has a new book out entitled The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston , a fabulous fictional tale that uses the real life Talliston as its inspiration. A great read! Here is a review by Maria Ede-Weaving with details of how you can obtain a copy for yourself.

The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston tells the story of Jo Darkin, a young boy abandoned by his parents, who finds himself at the gateway of a derelict council house only to find that this most ordinary of places is a portal to an extraordinary series of worlds.

The book can certainly be read on its own terms but it helps to know that its author – John Tarrow – is the designer and creator of Talliston House and Gardens, a three-bed council house which, over a course of years, he transformed into a magical series of rooms, each with different styles and themes. These real-life rooms form the basis of Jo Darkin’s fictional journey through a labyrinth of time and place; each room the site of ancient sacred energy; gateways that lead towards the labyrinth’s centre.

John Tarrow

Jo’s path through the Talliston’s labyrinth is reminiscent of the Hero’s Journey and those familiar with Tarot and the Fool’s path of integration and wisdom through the Major Arcana, will find much to enjoy here. In fact, there are many mystical, spiritual and magical references throughout the book that give it depth. Jo’s journey echoes those mythical trips to the Underworld which initially bring pain and loss but ultimately the gift of a new personal authenticity and self-awareness. Like the Underworld, Talliston – once entered – is a place of initiation and self-discovery; we as readers are encouraged to see, through Jo’s experience, how we too can transform and transcends our personal limitations.

The narrative is fast paced and engaging; it is an enjoyable piece of magical storytelling that reminds us to seek and find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Just as John Tarrow’s amazing house challenges our expectations and assumptions, The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston gifts us with the same magical shift in our perception and encourages us to recognize that we can be so much more than we might imagine; that our creative ability to transform is unlimited.

Well worth a read! The book is available form Amazon, Waterstones, Smiths and Folyes or you can obtain a copy from John’s website.

~ Maria Ede-Weaving

THE HOUSE | Talliston House & Gardens | Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home |

THE BOOK | The Stranger’s Guide To Talliston | The Epic Fantasy Adventure |

Twitter @sotalliston
Instagram @thestrangersguide
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7 Responses to “The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston”

  1. Many thanks, Philip and Maria, for the mention and review. For me, writing this book would not have been possible without the journey of the OBOD courses, so it is immensely gratifying to read Maria’s words and see her connect with the spiritual path of the story.

    Because this is the tale not only of an ordinary 13-year-old boy, but also the story of building the house that would become ‘Britain’s most extraordinary home’ (The Times), my ten years working through the Bardic, Ovate and Druid grades, and now this novel of magic hiding in plain sight and the extraordinary world within all of us.

    Like door into the labyrinth, I hope this introduces the book to spiritual readers, especially those teenagers starting on their own mystical path.

    Thank you again – and hope to welcome you to step into the pages of the book at Talliston sometime, too!

    • Thank you John. I think Talliston is one of the seven wonders of the world, and I know our daughters who visited the house – like ourselves – continue to talk about it with friends and will never forget the experience. I am looking forward to reading the book!

      • That is wonderful of you to say, Philip. And I hope you find time in your busy schedule to read the novel. Like Maria, anyone who understands one iota of living a magical life will be rewarded with a richer reading of Joe’s labyrinth journey. Mysterious ravens, doorways to otherworlds, folk magic, holy wells, magical circuses, haunted manors, Cambodian temples… it’s all there : )

        Hop you enjoy every word.

  2. Thank you Philip, Maria and John, have just bought my daughters a copy. Looking forward to long evenings reading out loud with cups of herb tea, sesame crackers and knitting!

  3. Just ordered a copy , thanks for introducing this book , look forward to getting lost and found in the labyrinth

  4. Thanks for the recommendation, I thoroughly enjoyed my journey through the labyrinth with Joe.

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