Illustrated by John Ward
Laurie Lee’s charming memoir of a Cotswold childhood is presented here with John Ward’s illustrations from the first edition.
'Night came at last, and we crawled out from the wagon and stumbled together towards home. Bright dew and glow-worms shone over the grass, and the heat of the day grew softer. I felt like a giant; I swung from the trees and plunged my arms into nettles just to show her. Whatever I did seemed valiant and easy. Rosie carried her boots, and smiled.'
Cider with Rosie is a magical account of growing up in a Cotswold village during and immediately after the First World War. With a poet’s quiet alchemy Laurie Lee conjures up a world of carthorses and candlelight. Amongst the stories we meet family heroes, such as Lee’s uncles with their colourful tales from the wider world, and alarming local outlaws like Cabbage-Stump Charlie, who sets out each evening, armed with a cabbage stalk, to strike down the first man he sees. Above all, in a wry, grateful and profoundly moving portrait, there is Lee’s mother, with her indestructible gaiety, her awe of the gentry and her unceasing, unspoken longing for her husband’s return – not to mention her difficulties with riding a bicycle: ‘She had to be launched on her way by running parties of villagers; and to stop she rode into a hedge...’
‘Remains as fresh and full of joy and gratitude for youth and its sensations as when it first appeared. It sings in the memory’
For his part the young Laurie is menaced into attending school (‘Boys who don’t go to school ... get chopped up on Sundays’) and survives pneumonia (‘the first thing for which I was best known’) to relish his first sweet bites at the apple of pleasure with Rosie. All the while the village’s own innocence is under threat as motorcars and clamorous charabancs bring the modern world ever closer, and a darker undercurrent is revealed when the village is touched by suicide and murder.
Hilarious and heartbreaking by turns, Cider with Rosie is at once an evocation, a celebration and a lament, an unforgettable portrait of a childhood and an England lost forever. This edition features John Ward’s original illustrations from the first edition, published in 1959, and is presented in a striking softbound cover as part of the Folio Collectables range, with coloured page tops and a ribbon marker.
‘I remember being mesmerised by the beauty of the prose – a prose poem, a narrative poem, I thought, a word painting’
Please note Folio Collectables are not slipcased.
Courtesy of BBD&P Awards
Please sign in to your account to leave a review for Cider with Rosie.