Juliet’s Story

Juliet’s Story was first published in 1995, and has now been re-issued with new illustrations. When Juliet’s favourite storyteller dies, she is left restless and story-less. Her best friend prefers television, but Juliet wants a story of her own. So her grandmother takes her on a trip to France, telling her on the way an Irish story, a Welsh story and an English story. (Scotland gets one later, told by a Frenchman.) Juliet’s grandmother has her own story too, involving the three interesting men who meet her in Dublin, London and France. Juliet learns a lot about life beyond County Tipperary but she still has no story of her own – until she sees a trout swimming in the hotel restaurant, waiting to be chosen. Her distress and outrage prompt her to take action – and from that point she has her own story. Some of these stories are crazy, magical, inside-out tales; they may tell of distress but their effects are benevolent; they are inclusive and welcoming; they induce laughter and healing; and they hold people together. Juliet – a perceptive little girl – notices how stories allow her to become the main character of the story, even when it is a boy or a grown-up. Alan Clarke’s gently droll illustrations depict what Juliet sees or imagines – except the last, which shows her back at home, her world and her future held together by stories. This story belongs to an ancient tradition which speaks to young and old alike.