The House on the Edge of Things – Ethel Cook Eliot, 1923/2012

Apparently I haven’t yet written about The Little House in the Fairy Wood, a lost favorite from childhood that I rediscovered thanks to the wonderful Loganberry Books “Stump the Bookseller” and subsequently digitized for Project Gutenberg. Since then I’ve been fascinated by Ethel Cook Eliot, especially since we moved to Northampton MA, where she lived most of her life. I have a long-standing vague project to write up something about her–so many interesting connections! Diane Arbus, the Little Theater movement, Northampton natural history, Sylvia Plath– and I’ve tracked down as many as her works as I can find (and afford). This one started turning up in searches fairly recently, to my surprise since I thought I knew of all her titles, it’s dated 1923 (same as Wind Boy), and I can’t find any evidence of the original publication details. This copy is new, published by Raven Rocks Press, who also re-issued The Wind Boy and The House Above the Trees – and wow, looking at their website, there’s also a bunch of interesting connections there and I could go right down the rabbit hole. But stopping at the edge for now–this was quite disappointing compared to LHFW and her other work. It reads like it may have been written much earlier, possibly as free-standing stories. It still has charm and originality, and the physical book is very nice, with color plates by Eliot’s sister-in-law which were presumably executed in the 20s, and pen and ink illustrations by another relative (granddaughter?). Best of all, there’s a photo and author bio that adds to my picture of her. Tantalizing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.