The Retreat (1936) by Forrest Reid, with a new introduction by Andrew Doyle
The Retreat opens with a vivid dream about an evil sorcerer and his boy apprentice. The dreamer is Tom Barber, age 13, who, like many intelligent and sensitive children, moves between the world of everyday life and that of the imagination. “I pretend things, and all at once they become real,” Tom says, and they become real for the reader as well, as we follow him over the course of one summer during which the lines between reality and fantasy are frequently blurred. In his depiction of Tom’s fantastic adventures in an unseen world – his attempts to thwart the malign influence of the cat Henry, whom he has observed scratching cabbalistic symbols on the gravel path; his meetings with the beautiful boy-angel Gamelyn; his conversations with animals; his experiences in the Garden of Eden – Forrest Reid’s delicate artistry is at its finest and most delightful.
The second of Reid’s three novels featuring Tom Barber, The Retreat earned universal critical acclaim when first published in 1936. This edition includes a new introduction by Andrew Doyle and numerous never-before-published photographs and illustrations.