Fiction  > Fantasy  > Glister

Glister: The Family Tree

Glister: The Family Tree

Glister: The Family Tree back

Andi Watson


Page 45 Review by Stephen

Under a startlingly attractive plum and custard cover comes a further tale of all-ages anarchy erupting round the grounds of Chilblain Hall, the semi-sentient, shape-shifting mansion that has been the ancestral home of the Butterworths for many generations.

It's seen better days. In fact when it's in a particularly despondent mood it just lets itself go like a sulky teenager, making its maintenance a full-time occupation for Glister's Dad. It does, however have a lot of history and it's that which causes the kerfuffle when Glister gets it into her head that they should have more family around in spite of her Dad's informed and prescient warning:

"Those idyllic family dinners you're imagining never happened. At least, when they did, they never reached pudding without a row or some disaster."

Unfortunately Glister has been sticking her baby teeth in the Family Tree - an actual ancient oak - swapping the bounty of the Tooth Fairy for a single potent wish: that one day the Family Tree would bloom again. And so it does, bearing the fruit of her ancestors who fall to earth with a <thunk> and proceed to cause chaos. There's Eliza and her flock of ravenous bunnies, American Scotty and his guitar of discord, an aloof butler, a pair of brothers still congenitally at odds ever since the English Civil War, an etymologist… and Charles. Charles whom Glister cannot account for in the family's ancient records.

In every GLISTER book there are things to make or bake - in this case the Butterworth Brothers' cannon (yes, that's how riotous the story grows!) - but what I really appreciate, apart from the immaculate cartooning with its incredibly sturdy architecture, is that the language is far from patronising with a vocabulary that puts most superhero comics to shame: words like 'dyspeptic', 'dissonant', 'atonal' and 'philately'. Also there are many moments of parenthetical, throwaway wit as when the new crowd stumbles upon one of Chilblain Hall's many unusual features:

"It's the Abyss, whatever you do, don't look into it."